Alejandro Aravena has been named as the 2016 recipient of the Pritzker Prize, receiving a $100,000 grant and a bronze medal during a ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, on 4 April. This is the second time in three years that the jury has chosen an architect best known for his humanitarian design rather than statement architecture.
The 2016 jury said that Aravena had “meaningfully expanded the role of the architect” through his social housing work and “is leading a new generation of architects that has a holistic understanding of the built environment and has clearly demonstrated the ability to connect social responsibility, economic demands, design of human habitat and the city,” said the citation. “[He] epitomises the revival of a more socially engaged architect.”
Aravena’s best-known work Elemental is a building group that aims to tackle poverty using a participatory approach that engages local communities in early stages of the design process. His portfolio counts with works such as the faculty buildings at the Universidad Católica and the Siamese Towers – home of the School of Architecture.
Aravena is the curator of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, one of the most significant events in the artistic calendar. The exhibition will take place in May with the theme Reporting from the Front, which aims to focus on the biggest social and political issues that has been negotiated by artists with around the world.
Alejandro was also a member of the jury’s from 2009 to 2015.