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Emanuele Alberto Cirello

Emanuele Alberto Cirello


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About Me:I am a Year 13 student which aspires to be an architect. I am interested in anything I don't yet know, and I mostly write about art, politics , Italian culture and inspirational people, although I will try to write for as many categories possible, just to test myself and get to know more things.

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Aravena: “incremental housing” and social architecture

Aravena: “incremental housing” and social architecture

Alejandro Aravena, Chilean architect and winner of the last Pritzker Price, is well known for his unique approach to architecture, which aims to solve social issues and provide solutions across the globe.

Aravena has recently released a number of his residential design as an open-source in order to tackle the housing crisis of urban areas in developing countries. His firm Elemental has posted sketches and drawings for four types of affordable “incremental” projects on their website as a PDF document, available to anyone as a free download.

The aim of Elemental is to provide material to architects, designers, developers and governments that will encourage the development of sustainable, low cost and well-designed social housing.

Aravena has announced this open source project at a press conference in the United Nations headquarters in New York, after been awarded the Pritzker Prize for his commitment to the development of social housing projects.

In many interviews, Aravena has explained an approach to social housing that he defined as “incremental”, in which the government fund the completion of “half a good house” and the residents can freely plan and build the other half based on their needs. This explanation of “incremental houses” has been given in a talk at “TED Talks”.

The designs and the drawings, made available in the PDF, come from past Chilean and Mexican housing developments that they have completed and revealed to be successful. Aravena has made his work freely available because governments and developers are hesitant to use resources on innovative design for social housing, as they can often bring many risks, and through “incremental” housing, this can be changed. The designs for the development project in Monterrey, Mexico, has been released as a free download in order to encourage more affordable housing projects across the globe.

According to Aravena, the need for social housing is becoming an ever-growing issue, with many urban areas put under pressure due to their growth and putting many people on the verge of total poverty. He has therefore made of his architecture a human social mission, and his drive can be beneficial to many communities that can implement their social and economic condition thanks to affordable housing.

Elemental has revealed all useful information about the projects shared in the PDF, but they have also confirmed that changes will have to be made according to regional and local regulations, codes as well as culture, heritage and material/ resources available.

Aravena is also the lead architect who is curating this year’s Biennale di Venezia, with the theme “Reporting from the Front”. The theme is meant to offer to the public new perspectives on global social issues such as sanitation, water scarcity, crime, traffic, waste, migration, pollution and obviously housing and how architecture can be used to tackle these issues. This is an opportunity to not only educate people on what can be done to be changed, but also to introduce real spatial solutions that can be made. Thanks to the exhibition, these projects can be appreciated publicly, making architecture available to anyone and by making the people change architecture with a “bottom up” approach.

Aravena, with his firm and his involvement, is set to inspire many architects to make architecture more humane and socially driven, with the making of designs for everyone, everywhere.

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