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From art to framework

Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena has just been awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize – the highest honor in the world of architecture. 

Alex Bozikovic of the Globe and Mail has a fantastic write up about it that focuses on how choosing Aravena – an architect known for his social housing – is quite a departure from the “starchitects” of prior years. 

One of Aravena’s most famous works is known as the “half of a good house”, which I think is an incredibly clever project. The idea here was to literally provide half of a good house but then design in the flexibility for owners to expand as they have the means. 

The rationale behind this was to get around the fact that poorer Chileans would not be able to afford a full good house, unless of course they went far out of the city. But rather than physically disconnect these people from the opportunities of the city, this was deemed as a better solution. I think that makes a lot of sense.

But beyond being hyper practical, it also pushes architecture away from being a work of pure art that shouldn’t be meddled with, towards more of a housing framework that is supposed to altered and built upon. 

Many architects wouldn’t like to give up this kind of control over their capital A, Architecture. But for Alejandro Aravena, he’s clearly about something quite different. 

Congratulations on winning the Pritzker Prize!

(I apologize for not having any links or images in this post. It’s because I wrote it from my phone on a flight.)

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