Alejandro Aravena elected as Chair of the Pritzker Prize Jury

The founder and executive director of ELEMENTAL as well as a prior recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Aravena welcomes the new honour to felicitate the 2021 winner.

by STIRworld Published on : Oct 31, 2020

With the Pritzker Prize ushering its 43rd year in 2021, the prolific Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena has been appointed as the Jury Chair for the prestigious award that is set to be revealed in March 2021. Aravena was the first Chilean to receive the Pritzker Prize in 2016, and was the director and curator for the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale. He is the Founder and Executive Director of ELEMENTAL, which is a ‘Do Tank’ working on projects of public interest and social impact including housing, public spaces, infrastructure and transportation.

UC Anacleto Angelini Innovation Center, designed by Aravena | Alejandro Aravena | Pritzker Architecture Prize | STIRworld
UC Anacleto Angelini Innovation Center, designed by Aravena Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Tom Pritzker, the chairman of the Hyatt Foundation who sponsors the award, lauds Aravena's contributions to architecture and remarks, “Throughout the history of the Prize, we have consistently relied on the diversity, expertise and standing of our jury members to interpret the evolving role of architecture as it responds to the changing needs of community, environment and technology. We are pleased to welcome back Alejandro Aravena, and in a renewed capacity as he brings with him a fresh model of leadership to steward our independent, international and esteemed jury.”

The Universidad Catolica Campus in Santiago, designed by Aravena | Alejandro Aravena | Pritzker Architecture Prize | STIRworld
The Universidad Catolica Campus in Santiago, designed by Aravena Image: John Zacherle, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Aravena expresses his sincere acknowledgement towards the position and says, “Historically, architecture has been about creating innovative alternatives and imagining possibilities, but it is also intimately connected with society. As jurors, our task is first to be sensitive to those questions that society would like the architectural profession to address, and to identify those architects that are trying to use the discipline’s body of knowledge to translate those questions into projects. I am honoured to join this group effort aimed to improve the quality of the built environment.”

Staircase of the Torres Siamese, in the Catolica Campus | Alejandro Aravena | Pritzker Architecture Prize | STIRworld
Staircase of the Torres Siamese, in the Catolica Campus Image: John Zacherle, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Alejandro Aravena received the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize in 2019, the RIBA Charles Jencks Award in 2018, and became the first architect to receive the Gothenburg Sustainability Award in 2017. Selected as the Jury Chair now, he has previously served on the Pritzker Prize Jury from 2009 to 2015. His academic inclinations also form a large part of his illustrious portfolio. He is the ELEMENTAL Copec Chair at Universidad Católica de Chile, a former visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has taught at Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia in 2005. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Cities Program of the London School of Economics.

Alejandro Aravena with Michelle Bachelet, the Chilean President | Alejandro Aravena | Pritzker Architecture Prize | STIRworld
Alejandro Aravena with Michelle Bachelet, the Chilean President Image: Gobierno De Chile, Courtesy of Flickr

Aravena joins a distinguished list of previous Jury Chairs which include names like Justice Stephen Breyer (2019-2020), who still remains a member of the Jury; Glenn Murcutt (2017-2018); Lord Peter Palumbo (2005-2016), and the late J. Carter Brown (1978-2004)

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