Chile's Alejandro Aravena has been named the 41st Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, the first from Chile and the fourth from Latin America. As Executive Director of the Santiago-based architectural firm Elemental, Aravena creates energy-efficient buildings, which respond to the local climate with innovative, efficient facades and floor plans, while offering users natural light. This is famously demonstrated in one of his most recent works, the UC Innovation Center at Universidad Catolica de Chile.
In addition, Elemental, led by the 48-year-old laureate, is known to underatake social housing projects with an approach they call 'incremental housing' where by the design leaves space for the residents to complete their houses themselves and in turn raise themselves up to a middle-class standard of living.
"Alejandro Aravena has pioneered a collaborative practice that produces powerful works of architecture and also addresses key challenges of the 21st century," said a statement from the Hyatt Foundation, sponsor of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. "His built work gives economic opportunity to the less privileged, mitigates the effects of natural disasters, reduces energy consumption, and provides welcoming public space. Innovative and inspiring, he shows how architecture at its best can improve people's lives."
The formal award ceremony for the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize will be held at the United Nations Headquarters on April 4, 2016, in New York.