Alejandro Aravena releases project files for free

Architecture International Media
Alejandro Aravena Vila Verde Project (Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

(Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

Man of the moment and Pritzker Prize-winner Alejandro Aravena has released the CAD drawings of four projects that, in his view, have been successful social housing solutions. Aravena announced the availability of the drawings during his speech at the Pritzker Conversation at the UN on April 5th.

Drawing of Alejandro Aravena's Villa Verde Project (Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

(Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

The public can now download the .dwg files from Studio Elemental Architecture’s website free of charge. In doing so, Aravena hopes that they can be utilized by governments and developers struggling to meet social housing demand.

Aravena argues that “by 2030 out of the 5 billion people that will be living in cities, 2 billion are going to be under the line of poverty.” By allowing his schemes to be open to everyone, the ideas behind them can be developed further. It’s his core belief that construction must use “people’s own resources and building capacity to that of governments and market. In that way people will be part of the solution and not part of the problem.”

Alejandro Aravena's Villa Verde Project (Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

(Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

Seen here are the firm’s Villa Verde Housing in Chile.

Alejandro Aravena's Villa Verde Project (Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

(Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

Related to these designs are the five design conditions that (in Aravena’s eyes) best respond to the challenges of housing:

  1. Good location: dense enough projects able to pay for expensive well-located sites.
  2. Harmonious growth in time: build strategically the first half (partition structural and firewalls, bathroom, kitchen, stairs, roof) so that expansion happens thanks to the design and not despite it. Frame individual performances and actions, so that we get a customization instead of deterioration of the neighborhood.
  3. Urban layout: introduce in between private space (lot) and public space (street), the collective space, not bigger than 25 families, so that social agreements can be maintained.
  4. Provide structure for the final scenario of growth (middle class) and not just for the initial one.
  5. Middle-class DNA: plan for a final scenario of at least 775 square-feet or 4 bedrooms with space for closet or double bed, bathrooms should not be at the front door (which is the typical case to save pipes) but where bedrooms are; they may include a bathtub and not just a shower receptacle and space for washing machine; there should be possibility of parking place for a car. None of this is even close to be the case in social housing nowadays.
(Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

(Courtesy ELEMENTAL)

Aravena also acknowledges that the designs and plans will change in accordance of local regulations and structural codes. He encourages those who use his designs to follow “local realities and use pertinent building materials” rather than stick rigidly to his plans.

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