10 Innovative Architects to Watch

Alejandro Aravena

Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena has become internationally known for pursuing two very distinct paths of design: low-income housing as well as high-profile homes and public spaces. He not only has his own architectural firm, but he's also the executive director of Elemental, a company that works on projects like housing and infrastructure. It's a for-profit company, but has a social conscience and works with the Universidad Catolica de Chile and COPEC (Chilean Oil Company). Aravena is also a professor at the university.

One of his first house projects was also called Elemental -- designed for 100 families in the Chilean desert with a budget of just $7500 per family (including the land). The row houses have a modular look and feel, while built to withstand the harsh weather and blending into the environment. Aravena has also designed educational facilities, including dormitories and dining halls for St. Edward's University in Texas.