Nancy Couling is an architect who has recently completed her PhD under Harry Gugger at laboratoire bâle (laba), an architecture and urban design studio of the Swiss …
Alejandro Aravena is Partner Architect & Executive Director of Elemental, a socially-motivated architectural practice based in Santiago, Chile.
He is also a member of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction and was selected as the 2016 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
The Board of La Biennale di Venezia appointed Alejandro Aravena as Director of the Architecture Section, with the responsibility for curating the 15th International Architecture Exhibition (May-November 2016). Biennale President Paolo Baratta praised Alejandro Aravena for having managed to “narrow the gap between society and architecture.” The 15th International Architecture Exhibition had attracted almost 260,000 visitors (a 15 percent increase), with 40 percent of all visitors were younger than 35 years of age.
His work with Elemental includes the Mathematics Faculty, Medical Faculty, and Architecture School for the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) in Santiago; Huelquen Montessori School, Chile; new facilities for St Edward’s University in Austin, TX, USA; and social housing and urban projects for Elemental. The firm won first prize in the Tehran Stock Exchange Competition, Iran (2012) and the Avonni Prize in “Innovative Trajectory” and “Social Innovation” (2009).
He established his private practice after graduating with a degree in architecture from UC in 1992. He also studied theory and history at the Università IUAV di Venezia, Italy (1992-93) and at the Architectural Association (AA) in London (1999).
He was a member of the jury of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture (2009-15). Jury members serve for multiple years to assure a balance between past and new members and are entrusted with selecting the laureate each year.
He received the Silver Lion at the XI Venice Biennale (2008), 1st prize at the XII (2002) and the XV (2006) Santiago Biennale, and the Erich Schelling Architecture Medal 2006 (Germany). In 2009, he was one of ten non-British architects recognized as International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects for his exemplary contribution to architecture. He was finalist in the Mies van der Rohe Award (2000), the Iakhov Chernikhov Prize (2008), and the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture (2008).
Alejandro Aravena won the Holcim Awards Silver 2011 for Sustainable post-tsunami reconstruction master plan, Constitución, Chile, a master plan developed after the 2010 earthquake and tsunami that struck Constitución, a city of 46,000 people. The project responds with “geographical answers” to the “geographical threats” of the earthquake and tsunami risk. He also won 1st Prize of the Zumtobel Global Award (Austria, 2014), the World Green Building Council Chairman’s Award (USA, 2014), the 1st Prize of the INDEX Award (Denmark, 2011) for his social housing projects.
Elemental won the architecture category in the London Design Museum annual awards in 2015 for the UC Innovation Center - Anacleto Angelini in Santiago. The jury praised the project as “an excellent example of how the design of an office building can engage with its context. Its large openings carved away from its façades not only act as air corridors, light channels and pockets of collective spaces, but they also provide a different perception of such a building in the city: one that is permeable, visually, socially and climatically with its environment.”
Alejandro Aravena lectured at UC from 1994 and was ELEMENTAL Copec Chair of Urban Innovation (2006-09). He was Visiting Professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (2000-05), and the University of Wisconsin (2010).
He has written Los Hechos de la Arquitectura (ARQ Ediciones, 3rd Ed. 2007), El Lugar de la Arquitectura (ARQ Ediciones, 2002) and Material de Arquitectura (ARQ Ediciones 2003). His work has been exhibited at the X-hibition, retrospective at Harvard GSD (2004), X in Centro de Extensión UC, São Paulo Biennale (2007), Milan Triennale (2008) and the Venice Biennale. He was listed in the top 50 influential Chileans by Que Pasa magazine and one of “20 essential young architects” by ICON magazine in 2008.
Alejandro Aravena was appointed to the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation in December 2013. He was a keynote speaker on “Commonsense principles of sustainable construction” at the 4th International Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction held at the IIT Bombay in April 2013, and a guest speaker at the 10th Anniversary of the Foundation event in Basel, Switzerland in 2013.
He was a member of the Global Holcim Awards jury in 2015 and was also a participant of the 1st Holcim Roundtable held at MIT Endicott House, Cambridge, MA, USA (2014) and the 2nd Holcim Roundtable held in Einsiedeln, Switzerland (2015).