For the first time an architect has received the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development, an award reserved for organisations or people who are committed to and have achieved concrete results for a sustainable future. The awards ceremony will take place on 22nd November in Draken, Folkets Hus in Gothenburg, and the recipient of the award will be the Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, Pritzker Prize 2016 and curator of the last Venice Biennale: Reporting from the Front 15 Venice International Architecture Exhibition.
The jury’s motivation was significant, and includes a recognition of design, as"a powerful tool" to working towards a sustainable future. Design that takes a holistic approach to problems to improve people’s quality of life and not only searches for the best technical solution. This reflects the work of architect Alejandro Aravena and Elemental, which the jury recognised as having found simple solutions to complex problems.
In particular, in dealing with the problems of social housing, the great challenge for future cities, projects by Elemental are developed according to participatory planning where the three components of sustainability: social, environmental and economic are perfectly balanced. Architecture becomes a participatory process that includes citizens as part of the solution, not the problem, creating an atmosphere of trust and "building bridges" between people, governments and businesses.