More and more people on the planet are looking for a decent place to live even though that is becoming harder and harder to achieve. In an increasingly complex world, attempts to create good architecture while overcoming material realities and difficult circumstances are always challenging. But many architects and communities the world over are rising to these challenges and are going beyond business as usual. The 15th International Architecture Exhibition will be all about these success stories and exemplary cases where architecture has made, is making, and will make a difference in the lives of everyday people by achieving what has previously seemed impossible. Reporting from the Front aims to explain to a broad audience what it means to improve the quality of life while working on the margins of society, often under adverse conditions, while facing pressing challenges, all while producing significant work.
If we can learn from architectural practices that despite the scarcity of means intensify what is available instead of highlighting what is missing, we can understand what design tools are needed to overcome and subvert the forces that favour individual gain over collective benefit, that reduce We to just Me. We can come to an architecture that introduces a broader notion of gain: design as added value instead of an extra cost. Reporting from the Front will not be just a chronicle of passive witness but a testimony to work that balances hope and rigor in the quest for an architecture of the public good.
Alejandro Aravena is the 2016 winner of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture. He established Alejandro Aravena Architects in 1994. His work include several buildings for Universidad Catolica: Mathematics School (1998), Medical School (2001), Architecture School (2004), Siamese Towers (2005) and more recently the Angelini Innovation Center (2014). and Chairless for Vitra in Germany (2008) and a building for Novartis in their new campus in China (2015). In 2013 he won the competition for the Teheran Stock Exchange in Iran. From 2000 until 2005 he was professor at Harvard University, where together with engineer Andres Iacobelli he found the social housing initiative ELEMENTAL, His work has been distinguished with several awards such as the Design of the Year (London Design Museum, 2015), 1st Prize of Zumtobel Global Award (Austria, 2014), World Green Building Council Chairman's Award (USA, 2014),the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture (France, 2007), and the Bicentennial Medal for his contribution to the country's development (Chile, 2004). His work has been featured in the Sao Paulo Biennale (2007), the Milano Triennale (2008), the Venice Architecture Biennale (2008 and 2012), the MoMA in New York (2010), the MA Gallery in Tokyo (2011) and is part of the collection of the Centre Pompidou. In addition to his Pritzker prize, in 2010 he was named International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architect and identified as one of the 20 new heroes of the world by Monocle magazine. He is a Board Member of the Cities Program of the London School of Economics since 2011; Regional Advisory Board Member of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies; Board Member of the Swiss Holcim Foundation since 2013; Foundational Member of the Chilean Public Policies Society; Leader of the Helsinki Design Lab for SITRA, the Finnish Government Innovation Fund. He was one of the 100 personalities contributing to the Rio +20 Global Summit in 2012. He was also a speaker at TED Global in 2014.