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Chilean Architect Alejandro Aravena Named 2016 Pritzker Prize Winner

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Alejandro Aravena of Chile has been awarded the 2016 Pritzker Prize - recognised as the world's most prestigious architecture award.

The 48 year-old Aravena is now the 41st laureate of the Pritzker Prize and the first winner from Chile.

UC Innovation Center, Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago,[/caption]Tom Pritkzer, the Chairman and President of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the prize, said: "The jury has selected an architect who deepens our understanding of what is truly a great design. Alejandro Aravena has pioneered a collaborative practice that produces powerful works of architecture and also addresses key challenges of the 21st century.""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." UC Innovation Center, Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago,[/caption]Aravena has completed remarkable buildings at the Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago, including the UC Innovation Center. These energy efficient buildings respond to the local climate with innovative, efficient facades and floor plans and offer the users natural lights and convivial meeting places.

Since 2001, Aravena has been the executive director of the Santiago-based ELEMENTAL, a "Do Tank", rather than a think tank. ELEMENTAL focuses on projects of public interest and social impact, including housing, public space, infrastructure and transportation. The firm has designed more than 2,500 units of low-cost social housing to date.

93 Incremental Houses Complex, Iquique, Chile[/caption]After being named the 2016 Laureate, Mr Aravena told the Foundation, "Looking backwards, we feel deeply thankful. No achievement is individual. Architecture is a collective discipline. So we think, with gratitude, of all the people who contributed to give form to a huge diversity of forces at play. Looking into the future we anticipate freedom! The prestige, the reach, the gravitas of the prize is such that we hope to use its momentum to explore new territories, face new challenges, and walk into new fields of action. After such a peak, the path is unwritten. So our plan is not to have a plan, face the uncertain, be open to the unexpected. Finally, looking at the present, we are just overwhelmed, ecstatic, happy. It's time to celebrate and share our joy with as many people as possible." 93 Incremental Houses Complex, Iquique, Chile[/caption]The 2016 Jury stated, "Alejandro Aravena has delivered works of architectural excellence in the fields of private, public and educational commissions both in his home country and abroad...He has undertaken projects of different scales and from single-family houses to large institutional buildings...He understands materials and construction, but also the importance of poetry and the power of architecture to communicate on many levels." Villa Verde, Constitución, Chile[/caption]Born in Santiago, Chile, Aravena graduated as an architect from the Universidad Catolica de Chile in 1992. In 2010 he was named International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and identified as one of the 20 new heroes of the world by Monocle magazine. He is a Board Member of the Cities Program of the London School of Economics since 2011; Regional Advisory Board Member of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies; Board Member of the Swiss Holcim Foundation since 2013; Foundational Member of the Chilean Public Policies Society; and Leader of the Helsinki Design Lab for SITRA, the Finnish Government Innovation Fund.

The formal award ceremony for what has come to be know internationally as architecture's highest honour will be at United Nationals Headquarters in New York on April 4, 2016.

Siamese Tower, San Joa­quín Cam­pus San­tia­go, Chi­le[/caption] Siamese Tower, San Joa­quín Cam­pus San­tia­go, Chi­le[/caption]

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