The ELEMENTAL studio, headed by artistic director Alejandro Aravena and based in the capital of Chile, Santiago, is untraditionally composed of people with a variety of skills and abilities. Their analytical approach to architecture and urban planning has led them towards original solutions to social challenges, such as the housing shortage in Santiago’s economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Instead of designing cheap housing, ELEMENTAL builds “half houses” at the same cost and enables buyers to build the other halves themselves. The combination of good design and the engagement of the buyers creates more sustainable housing areas