The 17th Venice Architecture Biennale invited architects to ponder the question “How will we live together”, eliciting a variety of answers, readings and interpretations. The International Exhibition unfolding in Giardini, the Arsenale and Forte Maghera presents 112 participants in the competition, coming from 46 countries, whose contributions are organized into five scales: Among Diverse Beings, As New Households, As Emerging Communities, Across Borders, and As One Planet. Answering “How will we live together as a community? “ is Chilean office ELEMENTAL and Archdaily met in Venice with Alejandro Aravena to discuss the idea behind the project KOYAÜWE, which creates a space that recovers the tradition of parleys, as a means to address the historical Chilean-Mapuche conflict.
Alejandro Aravena: The Latest Architecture and News
"We are Not the Protagonists, Architecture is Just the Background": In Conversation with Alejandro Aravena
Globalization and its pension for both virtual and physical connectivity has led to the linking of the world's economies, territories, and cultures and nowhere is this more evident than in the field of architecture.
The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).
This year, architecture’s highest honor, the Pritzker Prize, has been granted to Grafton Architects, a Dublin-based architectural firm mainly ran by female partners Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. For the first time ever in its 42-year history, due to the constraints set by Covid-19 global pandemic, the organizers of the Pritzker Prize decided to use Livestream the award ceremony. Having reached the end of 2020, ArchDaily has summed up what current and previous Pritzker Prize winners have accomplished during this turbulent year.
As reported in The Times of India, the board of governors for the Indian Institute of Management, in Ahmedabad, India has canceled the proposal to demolish Louis Kahn’s buildings on campus and replacing them with new structures, after a worldwide pushback from the international architecture community.
ELEMENTAL presents a sneak peek of its contribution to "How will we live together?" at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021. Recently, violence has increased in the historical Mapuche-Chilean conflict, that is why the architectural office proposed to build places that recover the old tradition of parleys, spaces to meet in order to settle differences and discuss terms for an armistice.
The Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor, has just announced the appointment of Alejandro Aravena as Chair of the Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury as of March 2021, in time for the award’s 43rd year. Moreover, the announcement also designated Manuela Lucá-Dazio, the Executive Director of the Department of Visual Arts and Architecture of La Biennale di Venezia, as an advisor to the Prize and the next Executive Director.
As founder of the “Do Tank” firm ELEMENTAL, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena (born on June 22, 1967) is perhaps the most socially-engaged architect to receive the Pritzker Prize. Far from the usual aesthetically driven approach, Aravena explains that “We don’t think of ourselves as artists. Architects like to build things that are unique. But if something is unique it can’t be repeated, so in terms of it serving many people in many places, the value is close to zero.”  For Aravena, the architect’s primary goal is to improve people's way of life by assessing both social needs and human desires, as well as political, economic and environmental issues.
Alejandro Aravena Shares the Foundational Philosophies at the Core of His Socially Conscious Practice
Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena shares the fundamentals of his design philosophy in a documented interview titled “To Design is to Prefer.” The Pritzker Prize winner founded his practice in 2001, committed to exploring socially conscious design practices. His firm, Elemental, first gained international recognition for its work creating social housing projects in Chile, but its portfolio continues to expand to include work from museums, universities, transportation, and urban infrastructure.
This video highlights the mental process behind Aravena’s personal practices and insights into Elemental’s unique approach to design. The interview begins discussing Aravena’s introduction to architecture as a teen and how architecture, a rather obscure phenomenon to the young Aravena, became his passion. Throughout the film, Aravena flips to the pages of his sketchbooks, illustrating the raw hand of the architect.
Try as we might to inure ourselves to the opinions of others, recognition is a powerful thing. It brings with it a captive (and expectant) audience, not just of admirers but of kingmakers - or, cynically, those who see an opportunity to capitalize. For architects, this can be both a blessing and a curse. Many practices start with the motivation to pursue an idea or concept; as recognition becomes diluted to labels it becomes harder to understand what was distinguishing in the first place. This week saw the announcements of a numerous significant awards - and an interview with a practice determined to shake off the labels that come with recognition. Read on for this week’s review.
Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena and founder of ELEMENTAL has been named the 2018 laureate of Royal Institute of British Architect's (RIBA) Charles Jencks Award. The prize is given in recognition of an individual's exceptional contributions to the field of architecture, both in built and theoretical works. Aravena will receive the prize and give a lecture at RIBA's London headquarters on 15 October.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer: "To Understand a Building, Go There, Open your Eyes, and Look!"
Six years ago Susan Szenasy and I had the honor of interviewing Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer for Metropolis magazine. While he was a federal appeals judge in Boston, Breyer played a key role in shepherding the design and construction of the John Joseph Moakley United State Courthouse, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. In 2011 Justice Breyer joined the jury of the Pritzker Prize. Given his long involvement with architecture, I thought it would be fun to catch up with him. So, on the final day of court before breaking for the summer recess, I talked to Justice Breyer about his experience as a design client, how to create good government buildings, and why public architecture matters.
ELEMENTAL, the architecture office led by Alejandro Aravena, has proposed a solution to the physical integration of Villa 31 in the city of Buenos Aires. The building includes a raised linear park that aims to be the new headquarters for the Southern Cone of the Inter-American Development Bank Group and to facilitate access of the residents of the neighborhood to other areas of the city.
Learn more about the project, below.
In May 2017, the Chilean firm ELEMENTAL was chosen to design the Art Mill, a cultural center that will be one of the largest in Qatar and will share a neighborhood with the Museum of Islamic Art (by I.M. Pei) and the National Museum of Qatar (by Jean Nouvel). Organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, the final verdict closed an exhausting call that initially received 489 proposals and extended for two years in its four phases.
After making a trip to Doha (Qatar), Alejandro Aravena spoke with Chilean newspaper El Mercurio and shared details about this project. "One of the things we set out to do is to make this endure for the next 1,000 years," explains the 2016 Pritzker Prize winner. "When you look at industrial facilities, especially silos, archaeological ruins are the kind of things that remain," he adds.
Alejandro Aravena on Moving Architecture "From the Specificity of the Problem to the Ambiguity of the Question"
This interview with the winner of the 2016 Pritzker Prize, Alejandro Aravena, was published last year in Issue 31 of Revista AOA, a Spanish-language magazine published by the Association of Architecture Offices of Chile. The interview was conducted by the editorial committee of Revista AOA—represented by Yves Besançon, Francisca Pulido and Tomás Swett—and is accompanied by photographs by Álvaro González. Aravena's openness and warmth allowed them to deliver a profound questionnaire about his thoughts and architectural projections, especially in light of Aravena's Venice Biennale which took place last year.
In all but the most optimistic architect's career, there will be moments you come across doubts and insecurities about our profession. It is in these moments where the wisdom of the greats who have come before us can help provoke the inspiration needed to face the challenges proposed by architecture and urbanism.
Needing an architectural pick-me-up? Check out some advice from Alejandro Aravena, Álvaro Siza, César Pelli, Francis Kére, Jeanne Gang, Norman Foster and Paulo Mendes da Rocha after the break.