ELEMENTAL’s OchoQuebradas: “The Spirit of the Primitive”

Courtesy of Elemental

Elemental‘s design for Casa OchoQuebradas draws on the rugged landscape of its site, a cliff on the coast of Chile, to create a rugged, even primitive weekend house design of  volumes. Inspired by their idea that “a weekend house is ultimately a kind of retreat where people allowed themselves to suspend the conventions of life and go back to a more essential living,” the house is a simple composition which incorporates such features as a main room which can be opened up to the outdoors and a central open fire.

More on Casa OchoQuebradas after the break

MCHAP Shortlists the 36 Most “Outstanding Projects” in the Americas

Wiel Arets, Dean of the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology () and Dirk Denison, Director of the (MCHAP), have announced the inaugural MCHAP shortlist – 36 “Outstanding Projects” selected from the 225 MCHAP nominees.

“The rich diversity of these built works is a testament to the creative energy at work in the Americas today,” said Arets. “When viewed alongside the innovative work by the MCHAP.emerge finalists and winner, Poli House by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen which we honored in May, we see the evolution of a distinctly American conversation about creating livable space.” See all 36 winners after the break.

Holcim Foundation Announces Jury for 2015 Global Award

Courtesy of Holcim Foundation

The Holcim Foundation has announced the global jury for the 2015 Holcim Awards, its triennial prize which encourages architects, planners, engineers, project owners and students to share their projects and visions that “go beyond conventional notions of sustainable construction.”

The 2015 prize is the Holcim Foundation’s fourth cycle, and this year will feature a total prize fund of $2 million – a significant increase on their 2012 prize fund of $300,000. To oversee the awards, they have recruited independent experts of international stature, including the Deans of the Harvard Graduate School of Design and ETH Zurich, and Alejandro Aravena of Chilean practice Elemental.

Read on after the break for the full list of jurors and more on the prize

ELEMENTAL Proposes Pedestrian Path To Connect Districts of Santiago

Courtesy of ELEMENTAL

ELEMENTAL has given us details on a proposed 14.5 km pedestrian and bike path within , that will run along the base of San Cristobal Hill and connect the city’s many distinct communities. According to ELEMENTAL, the proposal – named “Metropolitan Promenade” – seeks to facilitate the use and quality of the city’s public spaces.

The total project will cost about $16 million USD and will be constructed in two stages. The first is expected for March 2015 and will deal with 7.2 kilometers in the western sector of the park. The second stage, which should be ready in September 2015, will complete the following 7.3 kilometers in the eastern sector of the park.

Read the full architect’s description, after the break.

Common Sense in Sustainable Architecture

Elemental ultimately developed a system in which half of each building would be constructed in a first phase – and the other half in a later second phase: allowing residents to incrementally invest in their own homes, made possible through public funding. Photo: Elemental.

There are very few sceptics who would question the importance of increasing in architecture. The enhanced social value through better living conditions, physical value in a healthier and less-polluted environment, long-term monetary value via reduced operating and maintenance costs, and ethical value through fairness to future generations are self-evident.

But despite this agreement, the inertia of decision makers in finance and politics who are preoccupied with short-term cycles has slowed the pace of change, and distracts architects and engineers from focussing upon ways to integrate greater sustainable performance into their designs and projects.

The work of leading Chilean architects Elemental, led by Alejandro Aravena, on the implementation of the Holcim Awards-winning “Sustainable post-tsunami reconstruction master plan” for Constitución illustrates how the rigorous use of mere common sense can lead to significantly improved outcomes without generating higher costs. The city of more than 45,000 people is located 400km south of Santiago on the Pacific coast, with fishing and forestry as the principal industries. Constitución was almost completely destroyed by a tsunami in 2010. The tsunami first hit at the northernmost point of the city, with twelve-meter waves, then kept moving upstream through the river bed and hit the rest of the city with six-meter waves.

Children’s Bicentennial Park / ELEMENTAL

© Cristobal Palma

Architects: ELEMENTAL
Location: Perú, Recoleta, Santiago Metropolitan Region,
Design Team: Alejandro Aravena, Ricardo Torrejón, Víctor Oddó, Juan Cerda, Fernando García-Huidobro, Gabriela Larraín, Rebecca Emmons
Area: 40000.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Cristobal Palma

ELEMENTAL’s “Half-Finished” Housing Typology: A Success in All Circumstances

Courtesy of

Since they first developed the typology for their Quinta Monroy project in Iquique, Chile, the “half-finished home” has become something of a signature for ELEMENTAL: they have used the technique in multiple cities in , as well as their Monterrey Housing project in Mexico. The typology began life as a way of dealing with extremely low budgets, allowing governments to provide housing to citizens at incredibly low prices, but nevertheless creating homes that would provide for the needs of residents and even gain value over time. Now, they have applied the theory to their Villa Verde Housing project, published just last week on ArchDaily.

Read more about the typology, and how it has been applied at Villa Verde, after the break…

Las Cruces Lookout Point / ELEMENTAL

©

Architects: ELEMENTAL
Location: Jalisco,
Design Team: Alejandro Aravena, Diego Torres, Víctor Oddó
Area: 148.0 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Iwan Baan

Villa Verde Housing / ELEMENTAL

© Suyin Chia

Architects: ELEMENTAL
Location: , Maule Region,
Collaborators: Philip Zurman
Structural Engineering: Patricio Bertholet
Construction: Icafal
Civil And Plumbing Engineering: Fernando Montoya
Electrical Engineering: Ramón Prado
Area: 5688.0 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Suyin Chia, Cristian Martinez, Courtesy of ELEMENTAL

ELEMENTAL: Incremental Housing and Participatory Design Manual

What began as an academic initiative to improve the quality of life of poor strata of the population has meanwhile become a professional “do tank” offering services that cover the entire spectrum of urban development. Alejandro Aravena (1967 Santiago de ) founded in 2001 in his hometown with the goal of alleviating social deprivation directly instead of hoping for a balance of income relations. Besides building public facilities and public housing, also develops new approaches for the reorganization of resources and the potential of cities by means of projects devoted to infrastructure and transportation. This publication documents the social activity and history of the international architectural team and sheds light on its financing strategies, for example through participative building.

AD Interviews: Alejandro Aravena / ELEMENTAL, Venice Biennale

Alejandro Aravena, Executive Director of ELEMENTAL, tells us more about The Magnet and The Bomb, their exhibit at the Venice Biennale. You can learn more about the projects presented at this installation: PRES Constitución and Calama PLUS.

For more photos, check our previous article.

Venice Biennale 2012: The Magnet and the Bomb / ELEMENTAL

© Nico Saieh

An installation highly commented by the visitors of the Vernissage of the Biennale. The Magnet and the Bomb presents two projects from the based practice Elemental, lead by . These projects are urban interventions that were required for specific social issues, that have required a common ground between several stakeholders. A ticking clock bomb counts down at the entrance of the exhibit, that will last the 100 days fo the Biennale, around the same time that both these projects took.

The projects are presented over big walls of unfinished wood, with projections over them. Each project timeline appear on a wall, carved in the case of Constitución (view the PRES Constitución project), and as a series of cards inserted into slots for Calama (view the Calama Plus project).

© Nico Saieh

Chile is facing a big challenge, as the income has tripled in less than a decade, yet inequalities have remained intact. This is creating popular discontent that is accumulating pressure like a social time bomb. Equally, in order to maintain growth and remain competitive at a global level, the country must attract and retain knowledge creators. Presented here are the projects where architects were required to respond to these profound dilemmas.

INDEX: 2011 Award Winners

Just announced last night, the INDEX: Award winners for 2011 were unveiled highlighting five categories: Body, Home, Work, Play and Community.  The award ceremony was held in the Copenhagen Opera with a diverse audience from 48 countries.

The winners of the awards propose designs that focus on vastly improving the lives of people all over the world.  The non-profit Danish design organization received nearly 1,000 nominations from 78 countries, which were narrowed down to 60 finalist designs with the five award winners announced last evening.

Receiving the INDEX: Award HOME Category  was Chilean architecture firm ELEMENTAL for their project Monterrey, a revolutionary new model for in .  ELEMENTAL’s social housing design for Mexican citizens, provides residents with the opportunity to construct part of the home themselves.  By only building half the house residents, when time, effort and resources permit, personalize the home reflecting the needs and wishes of each individual family.

Ruta del Peregrino Phase II Completed

Sneak Peek ©

Looking back at the Easter Pilgrimage 2011 at Ruta del Peregrino, the most important event of the year, we are pleased to announce the final step of the second construction phase (you can check the complete project over here).

This year, for the first time, the pilgrims were able to use the finished viewpoint by HHF Architects, offering a new way to experience the site.

The sanctuary by Tatiana Bilbao and the viewpoint by Christ&Gantenbein are under construction; their presence will mark the completion of the entire Ruta within a few months.

All images by Iwan Baan and you can check his website for the full coverage.

Monterrey Housing / ELEMENTAL

© Ramiro Ramirez

Architects: ELEMENTAL
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Client: Instituto de la Vivienda de Nuevo León (IVNL)
Engineering: Area of projects and technological innovation, IVNL
Urbanization & Specialization: Area of projects and technological innovation, IVNL
Site Area: 6,591 sqm
Initial House Area: 40 sqm
Expanded House Area: 58.75 sqm
Initial Duplex Area: 40 sqm
Expanded Duplex Area: 76.60 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Ramiro Ramirez

ELEMENTAL wins Brit Insurance Design Award

ELEMENTAL’s Monterrey housing development has won the architecture category in the 2010 Brit Insurance Design Awards.

The -based practice was nominated by Catherine Ince, new curator of the Barbican Art Gallery, for its social housing scheme in .

The Monterrey housing takes on the “half house” concept that ELEMENTAL pioneered in the Chilean city of Iquique. The idea is that the basic house is provided for residents who then expand and adapt their property themselves.

Also shortlisted in the architecture category were Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI centre in Rome, Tony Fretton’s British Embassy in Warsaw, David Chipperfield’s Neues Museum in Berlin, 6a Architects’ Raven Row exhibition centre in east London and Herzog & de Meuron’s TEA cultural centre in Tenerife.

Seen at bd online.

Alejandro Aravena wins Marcus Prize for Architecture

Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena has been chosen as the 2009 recipient of the for Architecture. The for Architecture is a $100,000 prize funded by the Marcus Corporation Foundation and administered through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning to recognize emerging talent in architecture worldwide.

During the spring 2010 semester (January through May, 2010), Alejandro Aravena will make scheduled visits to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, focusing a graduate studio on specific challenges in architecture that inspire enduring benefits to Milwaukee’s urban fabric.

Arevena’s firm, ELEMENTAL, a self-described “Do-Tank,” is affiliated with COPEC, a Chilean oil company and the Universidad Católica de Chile. The affiliation has a social/political agenda and considers architecture a source for building social equity. His work includes the Mathematics Faculty, the Medical Faculty, the Siamese Tower and the Architecture School for the Universidad Católica, dorm facilities for St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, new children workshops and training facilities for Vitra in Weil am Rhein, Germany. From 2000-2005, Aravena was Visiting Professor at Harvard GSD.

Quinta Monroy / ELEMENTAL

Architects: Elemental, Alfonso Montero, Tomás Cortese, Emilio de la Cerda
Location: Iquique, Chile.
Client: Gobierno regional de Tarapacá / Programa Chile-Barrio del Gobierno de Chile.
Engineering: Juan Carlos de la Llera & José Gajardo.
Contractor and Services: Proingel, Abraham Guerra, Constructora Loga S.A.
Budget: US $204 /sqm
Project Year: 2003
Construction Year: 2004
Execution time: 9 months
Materials: & Cement bricks
Site Area: 5000 sqm
Constructed Area: 3500 sqm
Photographs: ElementalCristóbal Palma – Tadeuz Jalocha