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Chilean architect wins Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development

Pressmeddelande   •   Apr 24, 2017 17:44 CEST

Architect Alejandro Aravena has won the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development of SEK 1 million.“Aravena is an innovative Chilean architect who, along with his colleagues in the ‘Do Tank’ firm Elemental, applies a design philosophy based on making inhabitants part of the solution instead of regarding them as a problem – building bridges of trust between people, companies and governments.”

This is part of the jury statement regarding the winner of the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development. Alejandro Aravena, 49, is based in Santiago, Chile and is noted for his work in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. Elemental is an operational think tank that works to develop strategies and produce good-value housing for economically disadvantaged groups. They operate similarly to a traditional think tank, but they also implement ideas and visions and work to combat segregation, for instance through socially and environmentally sustainable production of economical new housing. Their concept includes providing home buyers with information that enables them to build part of the house themselves. This allows more people to build houses in areas where they would otherwise not have been able to afford to live.

The jury for the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development consists of Lotta Göthe (CEO, Ecoplan In Medio), Elin Eriksson (IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute), Björn Siesjö (Gothenburg city architect), Johanna Stål (editor-in-chief, Camino magazine), Emma Peterson (Hifab) and Thomas Kåberger (Professor, Chalmers).

In 2016, Aravena won the Pritzker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious architectural awards. In the same year, he was invited to be Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale. He will receive the Award on 22 November at Draken, Folkets Hus in Gothenburg. His colleagues from Elemental will also attend the award ceremony. Seminars and lectures will be organised during the award winner’s visit. If you are interested in participating or collaborating, please contact project manager Nathalie Bödtker-Lund (see contact details below).

More info at www.gothenburgaward.com


Lotta Göthe, Chairperson in the Jury, lotta.gothe@ecoplan.se, +46(0)768-80 88 76

Björn Siesjö, member of the Jury and City Architect of Gothenburg, bjorn.siesjo@sbk.goteborg.se, +46 (0)31-368 18 21

Nathalie Bödtker-Lund, Project Manager, nathalie.bodtker-lund@goteborg.com, +46 (0) 735-34 54 84

Previous award winners in selection

  • Park Won Soon
  • Paul Polman
  • Al Gore
  • Kofi Annan
  • Margot Wallström
  • Gro Harlem Brundtland

About the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development

The Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development is given each year to people or organizations for outstanding performance and achievements towards a sustainable future. The prize is worth 1 million Swedish krona (SEK), and shows examples of what is possible and necessary for a brighter future.


The award may be given to a person or organization that has contributed to:
• conserving resources and/or furthering renewable raw materials or ecological solutions
• the solution to a problem (area) that can lead to a technological breakthrough or “system change”
• creating and/or driving a process concerning the environment which has been important for the Gothenburg region as well as in a larger perspective
• development towards greater global justice.


City of Gothenburg, Region Västra Götaland, Andra AP-fonden, Carl Bennet AB, Coop, Elanders AB, Folksam, Handelsbanken, PEAB, SEB and SKF.

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