2016 Pritzker Prize laureate Alejandro Aravena releases free social housing designs

JUL 28, 2016 | By Aditi Gaitonde
Quinta Monroy (2004) was financed with public money. It housed 100 families from a 30 year old slum
Photograph courtesy Cristobal Palma.

The statistics are shocking: From the three billion people that live in cities, over one billion are below the poverty line in makeshift homes and 100 million are homeless. Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena is doing what he can to turn this situation around.

In April this year, the recently conferred 41st Pritzker Prize awardee announced that his firm Elemental is releasing four of their low income social housing designs as public knowledge. Meant to be a resource for governments, architects, developers and organisations working towards this problem, these open source drawings for incremental plans are available on the studio’s website for immediate download.

Collectively called “Half of a Good House” and already developed as Quinta Monroy, Lo Barnechea and Villa Verde in Chile and Monterrey, Mexico City, these were partially built with government funds while residents work on the rest when they can, allowing them to achieve middle class standards. Ideal for redevelopment after natural calamities, fight homelessness and the current migration situation, the schemes are to be modified to comply with local regulations, building codes and material availability.

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