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Half-housing: The work of Aravena and Elemental


O’Brien, D, Carrasco, S. & Dovey


In 2016 Alejandro Aravena, director of the Chilean architecture firm Elemental, received the highest international accolade an architect can achieve – the Pritzker Prize.
The award was primarily for a series of mass housing projects conceived within a social housing framework where each house is designed as an affordable ‘half-house’ to be incrementally adapted and extended by the owners.
This project is a critical investigation and evaluation of the ways such incremental housing projects have developed after the initial construction.
What is at stake here is the capacity of the state to deliver affordable housing through a strategy of providing half the house through public subsidy while harnessing the productive forces of self-organized adaptation at the household level to complete the project.

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