Pritzker Prize winner brings communities into the design process

The radical Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, known for his pioneering social housing projects in Latin America, has been named as the winner of the 2016 Pritzker prize, the highest accolade in architecture.

The 48-year-old, who is also the curator of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, has made a name for himself over the past decade with projects that reinvent low-cost housing and engage residents in the design of their own homes:

In a recent TED talk (see video above), he talked about an approach he has taken in his social housing projects and post-earthquake reconstruction where he included communities and families in the process of understanding the design constraints, and started a participatory design process.

Participatory design is not a hippie, romantic, let’s-all-dream-together-about- the-future-of-the-city kind of thing. It is actually not even with the families trying to find the right answer. It is mainly trying to identify with precision what is the right question. There is nothing worse than answering the wrong question.