The 13th January 2016 Tom Pritzker, Chairman and President of The Hyatt Foundation, announced Alejandro Aravena as the winner of the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the “Nobel” for architecture, recognized as the highest honor in the field. The formal award ceremony will be at United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 4, 2016.
Mr. Pritzker declared, “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 lives.”
The 2016 Jury motivated the selection saying that “Alejandro Aravena is leading a new generation of architects that has a holistic understanding of the built environment and has clearly demonstrated the ability to connect social responsibility, economic demands, design of human habitat and the city. Few have risen to the demands of practicing architecture as an artful endeavor, as well as meeting today’s social and economic challenges. Aravena, from his native Chile, has achieved both, and in doing so has meaningfully expanded the role of the architect…. 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 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.”
Alejandro Aravena, which is also the Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 titled “Reporting from the Front”, emailed in response: “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.”
Aravena, 41st Laureate of the Pritzker Prize, is the first Laureate from Chile, and the fourth from Latin America, after Luis Barragán (1980), Oscar Niemeyer (1988), and Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2006).
2016 Jury Members
Lord Peter Palumbo, 2005-present (Chair)
Stephen Breyer, 2012-present
Yung Ho Chang, 2012-present
Kristin Feireiss, 2013-present
Glenn Murcutt, 2010-present
Richard Rogers, 2015-present
Benedetta Tagliabue, 2014-present
Ratan N. Tata, 2013-present
Martha Thorne, 2005-present (Executive Director)