Alejandro Aravena of Chile has been selected as the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, Tom Pritzker announced today. Mr . Pritzker is Chairman and President of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the prize. The formal award ceremony for what has come to be known internationally as architecture’s highest honor will be at United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 4, 2016.
The 48-year-old Aravena is an architect based in Santiago, Chile. He becomes the 41st laureate of the Pritzker Prize, the first Pritzker Laureate from Chile, and the fourth from Latin America, after Luis Barragán (1980), Oscar Niemeyer (1988), and Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2006).
Mr . Pritzker said, “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. 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.”
Aravena has completed remarkable buildings at the esteemed 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). These energy-efficient buildings respond to the local climate with innovative, efficient facades and floor plans and offer the users natural light and convivial meeting places. Currently under construction in Shanghai, China, is an office building for healthcare company Novartis, with office spaces designed to accommodate different modes of work — individual, collective, formal and informal. In the United States, Aravena has built St. Edward’s University Dorms (2008) in Austin, Texas.
The 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury Citation states in part, “Alejandro Aravena has delivered works of architectural excellence in the fields of private, public and educational commissions both in his home country and abroad... . He has undertaken projects of different scales from single-family houses to large institutional buildings... . He understands materials and construction, but also the importance of poetry and the power of architecture to communicate on many levels.”
Aravena and ELEMENTAL have designed the Metropolitan Promenade (1997 - ongoing) and Bicentennial Children’s Park (2012), both in Santiago. After the 2010 earthquake and tsunami that hit Chile, ELEMENTAL was called to work on the reconstruction of the city of Constitución; their work there includes emergency relief work, a master plan, Villa Verde (incremental housing, 2013), and the Constitución Cultural Center (2014). Other works include a Montessori School (2001) in Santiago, Chile; “Chairless” furniture (2010) for Vitra in Weil am Rhein, Germany; Monterrey Housing (incremental housing, 2010) in Monterrey, Mexico; Las Cruces Pilgrim Lookout Point (2010) in Jalisco, Mexico; Calama PLUS master plan (2012 - ongoing) in Calama, Chile; Writer’s Cabin for the Jan Michalski Foundation (2015) in Montricher, Switzerland; and Ayelén School (2015) in Rancagua, Chile.
Alejandro Aravea is the Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, titled “Reporting from the Front,” set to open in May 2016.
2016 Award Ceremony at United Nations Headquarters in New York
Each year the award ceremony is held at a culturally or historically significant venue around the world . The award ceremony for Alejandro Aravena will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 4, 2016 . The location has particular significance as one of its lead designers was 1988 Pritzker Prize Laureate, Oscar Niemeyer . This marks the third time the ceremony will be in New York.
Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury
The distinguished jury that selected the 2016 Pritzker Laureate consists of its chairman, The Lord Palumbo, architectural patron, Chairman Emeritus of the Trustees, Serpentine Galleries, former Chairman of the Arts Council of Great Britain, London, United Kingdom; and alphabetically: Stephen Breyer, U .S . Supreme Court Justice, Washington, D .C ., USA; Yung Ho Chang, architect and educator, Beijing, The People’s Republic of China; Kristin Feireiss, architecture curator, writer, and editor, Berlin, Germany; Glenn Murcutt, architect and 2002 Pritzker Laureate, Sydney, Australia; Richard Rogers, architect and 2007 Pritzker Laureate, London, United Kingdom; Benedetta Tagliabue, architect and director of EMBT Miralles Tagliabue, Barcelona, Spain; and Ratan N . Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, Mumbai, India . The Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize is Martha Thorne, Dean, IE School of Architecture & Design, Madrid, Spain.