Alejandro Aravena is an architect from Santiago, Chile. He won the Pritzker Architecture award in 2016 and was a professor at Harvard for a time. His unique approach to architecture, specifically design that impacts community can be seen in the following TED talk.
Aravena’s understanding of Chilean culture is an important influence in his work. For example, he utilized the ability of the community to build an add-on to the urban homes he created to fulfill a need that went above the budget. The Chilean’s affected by the tsunami were also very vocal about their needs and desires. In order to accommodate their wish to stay on their land and honor the importance of the river to their culture Aravena created a design that provided a natural barrier between the citizens and the water.
Watching this talk I realized that architecture is so much more than simple buildings. Architecture can be a reflection of culture and an adaptation of means and needs. Ultimately architecture is not about the building, but the people who will be inside.