Architect Alejandro Aravena has won the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development of SEK 1 million. “Aravena is an innovative Chilean architect who, along with his colleagues in the ‘Do Tank’ firm Elemental, applies a design philosophy based on making inhabitants part of the solution instead of regarding them as a problem – building bridges of trust between people, companies and governments.”
This is part of the jury statement regarding the winner of the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development. Alejandro Aravena, 49, is based in Santiago, Chile and is noted for his work in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. Elemental is an operational think tank that works to develop strategies and produce good-value housing for economically disadvantaged groups. They operate similarly to a traditional think tank, but they also implement ideas and visions and work to combat segregation, for instance through socially and environmentally sustainable production of economical new housing. Their concept includes providing home buyers with information that enables them to build part of the house themselves. This allows more people to build houses in areas where they would otherwise not have been able to afford to live.
In 2016, Aravena won the Pritzker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious architectural awards. In the same year, he was invited to be Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale. He will receive the Award on 22 November at Draken, Folkets Hus in Gothenburg. His colleagues from Elemental will also attend the award ceremony. Seminars and lectures will be organised during the award winner’s visit.
The complete motivation from the jury and more information about Mr Aravena and Elemental can be read here.