Alejandro Aravena: The Forces in Architecture

Aravena, Alejandro. Alejandro Aravena: The Forces in Architecture. Tokyo: Toto, 2011.

Alejandro Aravena describes his philosophy towards the role of the architectect in an interview contained within The Forces of Architecture. Calling his practice, Elemental, a "Do Tank", Aravena stressed the importance of negotiating market and policy conditions to provide concrete solutions to poverty and inequality. He also understands the need to treat residences as the investments they are, and to create an architecture destined to increase in value by allowing occupants to literally modify it. 

This approach of design speaks to a new understanding of residence, where the residence is now an investment, a commodity, whose performance as a dwelling is coincidental. Traditionally, the poor have been overlooked by real estate's transition from residence into investment, and forced into smaller or less desirable dwellings. By creating public housing where occupants have direct control over its form and market value, Aravena has reimagined residental architecture for the poor in a commodified world.