José Cruz Ovalle
The Finnish Wood Association grants since 1999 the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award, aiming to promote on an international level those buildings that use this natural material, the main one in Finland’s building tradition. Awarded every two years, in this edition it has gone to José Cruz Ovalle. The Italian Renzo Piano, the Japanese Kengo Kuma, the Australian Richard Leplastrier and the Swiss Peter Zumthor are prior recipients. In words of the jury president, Matti Rautiola: “The basic themes throughout all Cruz Ovalle’s production are sensitivity and poetry, but also rationality. His buildings create an environment where the architecture simultaneously introduces an amicable microclimate, a flowing symphony of spaces, carefully considered material solutions and a place for encounters”. Born in Santiago de Chile, Cruz Ovalle began his architectural studies in his home city and moved in 1970 to Barcelona to complete them; in 1975 he set up his office in the Catalan capital, where he worked until 1987, when he moved back to Chile. His list of works includes the Explora Hotels (1994 and 2007) and the Adolfo Ibañez University in Santiago (2007).