Mr. Pritzker said, “The jury has selected an architect who deepens our understanding of what is truly 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 live.”
Aravena has completed remarkable buildings at the esteemed Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago – including the UC Innovation Center - Anacleto Angelini (2014), the Siamese Towers (2005), Medical School (2004), School of Architecture (2004), Mathematics School (1999) – and the Quinta Monroy Housing (2005). These energy-efficient buildings respond to the local climate with innovative, efficient facades and floor plans and offer the users natural light and convivial meeting places. Currently under construction in Shanghai, China, is an office building for healthcare company Novartis, with office spaces designed to accommodate different modes of work – individual, collective, formal and informal. In the United States, Aravena has built St. Edward’s University Dorms (2008) in Austin, Texas.
In response to being named the 2016 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Aravena emailed: “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.”