AD Interviews: Alejandro Aravena

Alejandro Aravena is a chilean architect, recently awarded with the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale (Promising Young Architect) and selected as a one of the 20 most promising young architects by Icon Magazine, magazine which also features him on the cover of the january issue.

Alejandro has a very strong line of buildings, on which finding solutions is the key: the Siamese Towers (),  Pirihueico House (Chile), the Mathematics School at UC (Chile) and ongoing projects such as ORDOS 100 (Inner Mongolia, China), the new facilities of St. Edward’s University in (Austin, TX, USA) and a new building for the Vitra Campus (Germany).

But what has made him achieve all this awards is something else. He is the Executive Director of Elemental Chile, a do-tank that “contributes to improve the quality of life in Chilean cities, providing state of the art architecture and engineering, understanding the city as an unlimited resource to build social equity”. This do-tank has made a huge impact in public policies, improving the quality of social housing not only in several cities in Chile, but also in Mexico.

We had the chance to interview him at his office in Elemental, on a very interesting conversation sharing his thoughts on architecture, the city, public policy and more.

Cite: Basulto, David. "AD Interviews: Alejandro Aravena" 09 Dec 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • david basulto

    i just published an interview with Alejandro Aravena, featured on the cover of Icon Magazine, january issue:

  • musser

    I offer this suggestion with the utmost of respect…

    I really love seeing these interviews—and I look forward to even more—but if I cannot hear the person very well, it’s not as enjoyable as it could be.

    May I suggest purchasing a microphone which can be separated from the camera and placed closer to the subject who is speaking? I don’t mind seeing that microphone in the shot. I only care about hearing the person better. I want to understand each word.

    But, thank you, in any case, for offering these interviews. They really are appreciated.

  • David Basulto


    I totally agree, and I´m sorry. I bought a new microphone that i will use for future interviews.

  • musser

    I felt badly even mentioning it.
    I think you ALL do a wonderful job here.
    I feel lucky just to be able to visit this site each day.

  • Contemporary Art

    Really nice interview. I didn’t have too much trouble understanding him. Thanks!

  • Hamster

    Watched the whole interview…thanks ArchDaily!

  • fernando herrera

    good interview david! …thanks for posting this

    i saw alejandro giving a lecture at uc berkeley (2006) …it is great to see how his work is evolving solidly

  • Francy

    Awsome interview… I doesn’t have the pleasure to met him in person, but when he came to Colombia as honor guest for the Corona Price in Cali, he was really focus and passionate on “Elemental project”… I think that social developments in habitat like that are the projects who lacked to the underdeveloped countries like mine. I’m really proud to could say that he and his office are the first latin american example,among the emerging offices, of innovation in worldwide architecture.

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  • jay

    -synthetic tool, is that it?
    -If anybody doesnt understand what where doing, maybe what where doing is wrong..

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  • luana

    where’s the interview? I can’t watch, it was removed