We had an inkling that Alejandro Aravena was off to great things, ever since we first encountered his clever, considerate and socially conscious designs – him winning the director's role for the upcoming 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale only reinforced this belief. Now the most coveted architecture prize, the Pritzker, has just come to confirm it.
Chilean architect Aravena has just been announced as the 2016 Laureate of this year's Priztker Prize, following in the steps of Frei Otto, Wang Shu, Shigeru Ban and Toyo Ito to receive the prestigious distinction. He will be given his award during a formal ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 4 April.
'The jury has selected an architect who deepens our understanding of what is truly great design. Alejandro Aravena has pioneered a collaborative practice that produces powerful works of architecture and also addresses key challenges of the 21st century,' says chairman and president of the Hyatt Foundation (who sponsor the prize), Thomas Pritzker. 'His built work gives economic opportunity to the less privileged, mitigates the effects of natural disasters, reduces energy consumption and provides welcoming public space. Innovative and inspiring, he shows how architecture at its best can improve people's lives.'
Similarly, chair of the jury of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Lord Peter Palumbo expressed his 'sense of wonder and revelation' upon visiting Aravena's work.
Buildings at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, including the UC Innovation Center – Anacleto Angelini, 2014; the Siamese Towers, 2005; Medical School, 2004; School of Architecture, 2004; and the Mathematics School, 1999, are among the work in the architect's growing portfolio.
To say that we are looking forward to Aravena's upcoming Venice Biennale composition of events, titled 'Reporting from the Front', is an understatement. We can't wait for the event to kick off in May 2016.