It´s Elementary (Not)

Hashim Sarkis 

Much of the work of Alejandro Aravena, whether designed alone or with the group Elemental, embodies a eureka moment, a moment where after a careful interrogation of the program with the client, the architect comes up with a counterintuitive but simple response to the charge. Whether it takes the form of a chair, a building, or a landscape, it is not what you expected.

After examining the users’ requests for the Computer Center at the Catholic University, it turns out that the workspaces had to be both dark and well-lit. Instead of regulating the lighting inside the room itself, he proposes adjacency between spaces of lighting contrast. Working from a limited budget in the social housing in Iquique, Elemental and the client come to the realization that they only have half the money they need for the collective social housing project to work. So instead of a full good house that they could not afford, Aravena proposes a half good house that they could. “If I cannot convincingly convey the design idea over the phone, then I know it is a bad idea,” he says...[+]

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