When asked to build housing for 100 families in Chile ten years ago, Alejandro Aravena looked to an unusual inspiration: the wisdom of favelas and slums. Rather than building a large building with small units, he built flexible half-homes that each family could expand on. It was a complex problem, but with a simple solution — one that he arrived at by working with the families themselves. With a chalkboard and beautiful images of his designs, Aravena walks us through three projects where clever rethinking led to beautiful design with great benefit.

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31 COMMENTS

  1. Then stop getting pregnant and yeah just don't bring any more humans to suffer to this world. The system is corrupted so, let's just not.

  2. Dropped out of arch school with hopes to try again. Now I’m working on a masters in economics. This guy is literally thinking on both fields and more. It is genius. I am highly interested in this niche and I think it is essential to explore it some more.

  3. This man is not an architect but a visionary. The answer is inclusion of the right and force of the community, nature and of a visionary creative technical, social and moral leader.

  4. That block of concret may save energy but not nature and men resources to built it like precious sand, water, etc

  5. Any thoughts about bringing the community into the process of Architectural design regarding private residences? Does the process still applicable on a smaller scale?

  6. Ohh wow….. I want to become an architect and guess what when he told the case of tsunami….. After listening to him couple of minutes…. I made my own idea of add forest in between…. But there was only one change between our ideas… And that was….. I thought of adding forest btw with some depth…. In that area….. Think so my idea was better…. And also i an become an architect now………… Btw i am just 16 years old and in 11th grade……. From India……. Cause its Indian mind….. Proud of my self….

  7. I realised that to appreciate a product of architecture, we need to know the (right) problem that the form of architecture try to solve. To be honest, not all of his building is extremely beautiful, but when we learn what are those buildings try to solve, we find out how brilliant his ideas are. Bravo!

  8. I like his philosophy, but hate his design. That horrible, looming grey block monstrosity: Why must it be so anti-beauty? Why no adornment? No color? Why does the exterior feel so cruel and hostile to human energy? I look at that building on the outside and want to run away, not enter. Nothing invites me in…..it repels and terrifies me. How is that people-centered?

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