The Architect’s Studio: ELEMENTAL / Alejandro Aravena

Exhibition Overview


UC Innovation Center
UC Innovation Center, Santiago, Chile, 2015

After several years with major thematic architectural exhibitions, Louisiana has embarked on a series of monographic exhibitions. The Architect’s Studio focuses on a new generation of trendsetting architects, all of whom demonstrate a paradigm shift: from the prestige projects of the star architects at the beginning of the new millennium to today’s more sustainable and socially aware architecture. The focus of the first exhibition in the series, in 2017, was on Chinese architect Wang Shu, his wife and partner Lu Wenyu and Amateur Architecture Studio.

This second exhibition in the series focuses on the Chilean architectural studio ELEMENTAL headed by artistic director Alejandro Aravena (b. 1967). In 2016 Aravena was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize and was director of the Venice Architecture Biennale with the support of the entire ELEMENTAL group. The studio is untraditionally composed of people with a variety of skills and abilities, and their analytical approach to architecture and urban planning has led them towards original solutions to social challenges, such as the housing shortage in Santiago’s economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Instead of designing cheap housing, ELEMENTAL builds ’half houses’ at the same cost and provides buyers with information which enables them to build the other half themselves. The combination of good design and the investment of the buyers create a more sustainable housing area.

The studio works with architecture on both large and small scales in Chile and in the rest of the world. All projects bear the marks of their pragmatic approach. As ELEMENTAL themselves put it: “It isn’t so much about the answer, but about asking the right questions.”

(Photo: UC Innovation Center, Santiago, Chile, 2015, Photo: Nina Videc)

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