Vanguard Updates

Alejandro Aravena
Santiago, Chile
www.elementalchile.cl

 Hear what Alejandro Aravena has to say:

Since you were a part of the Design Vanguard, what has changed for your firm? Listen>>

How have your design sensibilities changed since that time? Listen>>

What future goals/plans do you have for your firm? Listen>>

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Pictured: Siamese Towers; Photo © Victor Oddó

It may have only been two years since Chilean architect Alejandro Arevena debuted in the Design Vanguard, but what a difference about 730 days makes. Projects we featured in construction—Elemental, a housing development for 100 families in the Chilean desert; the architecture school at Arevena’s alma mater, the Universidad Católica de Chile; and the unusually shaped Siamese towers, also at the Universidad Católica—are completed and have made Arevena a major voice in the politics architecture in Chile. He calls Elemental a “doing tank.” In partnership with Copec, a Chilean oil company and the largest firm in Chile, and the Catholic University, Elemantal is working on several large-scale projects, including public markets, several social housing projects, and other public buildings. Also, he’s begun his first U.S. project—dormitories and dining facilities for St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, to be completed in 2008. And there’s one very important project he’s very happy about—his new baby daughter.

Founded:
Independent practice 1994
Elemental associated to Copec (chilean oil company) and UC (Universidad Católica de Chile) 2006

Design staff:
AA architects: self only. Hires people on a project-by-project basis. Elemental has 15 people including architects, engineers, and builders.

Principal:
Collaborates with other architects on a project-by-project basis: Fernando Perez (Medical School); Luis Lucero (Medical, Mathematics, and Architecture School); Lorena Andrade (Architecture School); Claudio Blanco (Montessori School); Jorge Christie and Victor Oddó (Pirehueico House); Charles Murray, Ricardo Torrejón, Alfonso Montero (Siamese Towers and Elemental); Andres Lacobelli (Elemental) Cotera + Reed (St. Edward's dorms and dining hall)

Education:
Universidad Católica de Chile, B.Arch., 1992

Work history:
Academic—Harvard Graduate School of Design, 1999–2005; Universidad Católica de Chile, 1994–present

Key completed projects:
Medical School, Universidad Católica, Santiago, 2004; Montessori School, Santiago, 2001; Mathematics School, Universidad Católica, Santiago, 1999; Sculptor's House, Santiago, 1998, Quinta Monroy Elemental Social Housing Iquique 2004, Pirehueico House 2005, Architecture School Universidad Catolica Santiago, 2005, Siamese Towers 2006

Key current projects:
St. Edwards University Dorms + Dining Hall, Austin, Texas 2006 – 2008; Elemental Renca, 2006-2007; Elemental, Temuco, Chile, 2006-2007; Elemental, Lo Barnechea, 2005-2008; Free Fairs, Santiago, Chile, 2006-2007

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