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Kengo Kuma Explains How His Architectural Style was Formed by Financial Crisis

Japan's renowned architect Kengo Kuma is the latest to feature in PLANE—SITE's video series Time-Space-Existence, exploring the inner workings of his Tokyo office and how the Japanese financial crisis of the early 1990s shaped his firm.

It’s Elementary (Not): On the Architecture of Alejandro Aravena

When reading about the work of Alejandro Aravena, it can sometimes seem like two distinct discussions: one about his widely praised social housing innovations, and another about his impressive (albeit more conventional in scope) buildings for universities and municipalities. In this post originally shared on his Facebook page Hashim Sarkis, the Dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, connects the two apparently separate threads of Aravena's architecture, discovering the underlying beliefs that guide this year's Pritzker Prize winner.

AD Round-Up: The Best of Contemporary Chilean Architecture

Chilean architecture, having long stood in the shadow of more established design traditions in Europe and North America, has been catapulted to the forefront of global attention with the news that architect Alejandro Aravena has been named the 41st Pritzker Prize Laureate – the first Chilean to receive the award. He is also the director of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, which focuses on the role of architects in improving the living conditions of people across the globe, especially in cases where scarce resources and the “inertia of reality” stand in the way of progress.

2016 Pritzker Prize Winner Alejandro Aravena's Work in 15 Images

Alejandro Aravena is the first Chilean architect to ever receive a Pritzker Prize. Praised for reviving the socially engaged architect, the 48-year-old architect and executive director of ELEMENTAL has proved architecture's ability to solve pressing global issues through his diverse portfolio. Read on to see 15 projects that exemplify Aravena's contribution to architecture so far.

Three Years in Villa Verde, ELEMENTAL’s Incremental Housing Project in Constitución, Chile

Where were you when it happened? On February 27, 2010 an 8.8-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Chile, causing destruction across the country. Ask any Chilean what they were doing at the time, and they will have a story to tell.

Alejandro Aravena Wins 2016 Pritzker Prize

Alejandro Aravena has been named as the winner of the 2016 Pritzker Prize. Highlighting his dedication to improve urban environments and to address the global housing crisis, the Pritzker Prize jury praised the way in which the Chilean architect has "risen to the demands of practicing architecture as an artful endeavor, as well as meeting today's social and economic challenges." Aravena is the 41st Pritzker Prize laureate and the first Chilean to receive the award.

Innovation Center UC - Anacleto Angelini / Alejandro Aravena | ELEMENTAL

In 2011, Angelini Group decided to donate the necessary funds to create a center where companies, businesses and more in general, demand, could converge with researchers and state of the art university knowledge creation. The aim was to contribute to the process of transferring know-how, identifying business opportunities, adding value to existing resources or registering patents in order to improve the country’s competitiveness and consequently its development. The Universidad Católica de Chile would host such a center and allocated a site in its San Joaquin Campus.

Casa OchoQuebradas / 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 concrete 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.

ELEMENTAL Proposes Pedestrian Path To Connect Districts of Santiago

ELEMENTAL has given us details on a proposed 14.5 km pedestrian and bike path within Santiago, Chile 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.

Common Sense in Sustainable Architecture

There are very few sceptics who would question the importance of increasing sustainability 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.

Children's Bicentennial Park / ELEMENTAL

Chile has had an incredible economic growth in the last decade, but the urban standards have not increased proportionally. Santiago for example, has no single place where to go for a long walk.

ELEMENTAL's "Half-Finished" Housing Typology: A Success in All Circumstances

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 Chile, 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.

Las Cruces Lookout Point / ELEMENTAL

La Ruta del Peregrino (Pilgrim’s Route) has an approximate length of 117 kilometers.  Over two million people every year travel from different states of Mexico to walk through the mountain range of Jalisco. Starting in the town of Ameca, their final destination is Talpa de Allenda where they go to visit Virgin Rosario as an act of devotion, faith, and purification. 

Villa Verde Housing / ELEMENTAL

Arauco is a forestry company that called us in 2009 to develop a plan to support their workers in the process to have access to their definitive house. We were asked to develop a set of typologies within the current housing policy for Fondo Solidario de Vivienda I (FSV I, units up to 600 UF or US$25,000 without debt) and for FSV II (units up to 1,000 UF or US$40,000 with a bank loan). These designs would be a contribution of the company to their workers, a kind of subvention, so that housing committees could use them when applying for the regular system of public funds.

Siamese Towers / Alejandro Aravena

We were asked to build a glass tower to host everything that had to do with computers in the university.

Pirihueico House / Alejandro Aravena

We were asked to design a summer/winter house in a remote landscape in the most southern part of Chile. More than a design, the client wanted, first of all, an equation that included every possible aspect that one could consider to be included; the design then had to be just the resolution of that equation.