Alejandro Aravena (Chile, 1967) graduated in Architecture from Universidad Católica de Chile in 1992 and established his own practice in 1994 working mainly on institutional buildings. Since 2001 he is serving as Executive Director of ELEMENTAL, a Do Tank where he is a partner with Gonzalo Arteaga, Juan Cerda, Víctor Oddó and Diego Torres. They began working in projects of low-cost housing that due to its incremental nature required participatory processes. They later included in their portfolio projects of public spaces, infrastructure and public buildings. After the 2010 earthquake and tsunami that hit Chile, they were called to work in the reconstruction of the city of Constitución where they had to integrate all the previous experiences. The approach they developed proved to be useful for other cases where city design was used to solve social and political conflicts. At the moment they keep on expanding into new fields of action.
ELEMENTAL won the Silver Lion for a Promising Young Architect of the 11th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.
Aravena is the author of Los Hechos de la Arquitectura (Architectural Facts, 1999), El Lugar de la Arquitectura (The Place in/of Architecture, 2002) and Material de Arquitectura (Architecture Matters, 2003). His work has been published in over 50 countries, Electa published the monograph Alejandro Aravena; progettare e costruire (Milan, 2007) and Toto published Alejandro Aravena; the Forces in Architecture (Tokyo, 2011). Hatje-Cantz published the first monograph dedicated to the social housing projects of ELEMENTAL: Incremental Housing and Participatory Design Manual (Berlin, 2012) launched at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.