5 things we can learn from Alejandro Aravena on creativity

Creativity knows no bounds and can be applied to various fields, including architecture and urban design. One notable figure in this realm is Alejandro Aravena, a Chilean architect, and winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2016.

Aravena is renowned for his innovative and socially-conscious approach to design, with a focus on addressing pressing global challenges through creative solutions.

We will explore what we can learn from Alejandro Aravena on creativity and how his principles can inspire us to approach our creative endeavors in a meaningful and impactful way.

Embrace the Power of Design Thinking

Aravena believes that design thinking can solve complex problems and improve people’s lives. He advocates for an interdisciplinary approach that integrates design, innovation, and social impact. He believes that creativity should not be limited to aesthetics, but should also consider functionality, sustainability, and social impact.

As creatives, we can learn from Aravena’s approach by embracing design thinking as a problem-solving tool and leveraging its power to generate innovative solutions that have a positive impact on society.

Address Social and Environmental Challenges

Aravena is renowned for his work in designing affordable and sustainable housing solutions for underserved communities. He believes that architecture and design can play a crucial role in addressing pressing social and environmental challenges, such as poverty, inequality, and climate change. He encourages creatives to use their skills and expertise to tackle these issues head-on and make a positive difference in the world.

Aravena’s work serves as a reminder that creativity can have a purpose beyond aesthetics and can contribute to meaningful social and environmental change.

Embrace Constraints as Opportunities

Aravena believes that constraints are not limitations, but rather opportunities for creative problem-solving. He often works with limited budgets, materials, and resources, and uses them as catalysts for innovation. He encourages creatives to view constraints as challenges that can spark creative solutions and lead to breakthrough ideas.

Aravena’s approach teaches us to embrace limitations as opportunities for creativity and innovation, and to find unique and resourceful ways to overcome challenges.

Collaborate and Engage with Communities

Aravena emphasizes the importance of collaboration and community engagement in the creative process. He believes that the best solutions come from working closely with the end-users and understanding their needs and aspirations. He involves local communities in the design process, ensuring that their voices are heard and their insights are integrated into the final design. This collaborative approach not only results in more inclusive and relevant solutions but also fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment among the communities.

As creatives, we can learn from Aravena’s community-driven approach and recognize the value of collaboration and engagement in our own creative endeavors.

Dare to Challenge the Status Quo

Aravena is known for his unconventional and daring approach to design. He questions established norms and pushes the boundaries of traditional architecture and urban design. He challenges the status quo and seeks innovative solutions to complex problems.

Aravena’s courage to challenge norms and think outside the box serves as an important lesson for creatives to embrace boldness, take risks, and question established conventions in their pursuit of creativity.


Alejandro Aravena’s innovative and socially-conscious approach to design provides valuable lessons in creativity.

His emphasis on design thinking, addressing social and environmental challenges, embracing constraints as opportunities, collaborating with communities, and daring to challenge the status quo can inspire us to approach our creative endeavors with purpose and impact.

By integrating these principles into our creative processes, we can strive to make a positive difference in the world and contribute to creating a better future through our creative work.