Alejandro Aravena/Elemental

Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena was relatively unknown until this year, when he achieved the double whammy of winning the Pritzker Prize and curating the Venice Architecture Biennale.

This understandably led to a huge amount of interest in his work and gave him a high ranking in our Hot List. We suspect he would not have made the list at all otherwise.

Our roundup of his key projects, which include the pioneering social-housing developments that caught the attention of the Pritzker jurors, was our second most-popular story about Aravena, as readers sought to find out more about the 48-year-old and his studio Elemental.

These projects include his landmark Quinta Monroy housing project in Chile, which provides families with extremely affordable but incomplete housing, which they can complete themselves as and when they can afford it.

Aravena's approach to architecture is different from most of his peers, with the Pritzker jury describing him as "epitomises the revival of a more socially engaged architect, especially in his long-term commitment to tackling the global housing crisis and fighting for a better urban environment for all".

To prove their point, Aravena announced at the Pritzker Prize press conference that he was giving away a tranche of residential blueprints as open-source resources to help solve the global housing crisis.

He explained his philosophy in an interview with Dezeen earlier this year, saying his architecture firm Elemental likes to start projects "as far away from architecture as possible". The interview was our most-read story about one of the most refreshing new arrivals on the global architecture scene.

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