Alejandro Aravena Wins Marcus Prize

September 4, 2009

By John E. Czarnecki, Assoc. AIA

Alejandro Aravena
Alejandro Aravena

Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena was selected in July as the winner of the Marcus Prize for Architecture, which recognizes an emerging architect or firm. The $100,000 prize, administered by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning, has two components: Aravena will receive $50,000, and the school will receive $50,000, which it will use to administer the competition and to bring Aravena to the school as a studio critic for the spring 2010 semester.

Aravena, a member of the Pritzker Prize jury, is the third winner of the biannual prize, following MVRDV in 2005 and Barkow Leibinger in 2007. The Marcus Prize is funded by the Wisconsin-based Marcus Corporation Foundation. Aravena told RECORD, “An important prize like this one allows you to spend less energy on explaining who you are or what you are good at, and more time on achieving quality in the projects themselves.”

Jurors included Reed Kroloff, Laurie Hawkinson, Michael Manser, and the school’s dean, Robert Greenstreet. "The jury reviewed nominees from 18 countries. It was a huge pool of highly qualified candidates,” said Greenstreet in a prepared statement. “Alejando was unanimously selected because of his remarkable commitment to a socially driven agenda, coupled with an almost lyrical appreciation of architectural craft and form."

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