4x4 = 16 Chile / Entre Montañas y Mar

Join AIA|DC's Design Excellence Committee for a film screening and panel discussion highlighting the profound contributions of South American women architects in the world of creativity, design, and diversity.

This program is part of a 4-part series showcasing 4 countries: Argentina, Peru, Chile and Brazil. Each session will include 4 panelists from the represented country that will share their work.

The series explore representation of diverse typologies of unseen architecture in South American countries all seen from the eyes of local women architects.

This 4x4 = 16 Chile showcases the work of architects Mirene Elton, Loreto Lyon, Jeannette Plaut and Cazú Zegers.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover the seamless dialogue between Chilean architecture, the Andes Cordilleras and the Southern Pacific Ocean; resulting in buildings that inhabit their territory and environment with respect and leaving no trace.

  • Illustrate the use of wood as a building material from context to detail; by means of combining high experimentation and low-tech construction.

  • Identify the Chilean rural house typology related to its roots in local and sustainable materials.

  • Discuss the overall view of women in the design and construction business in Chile, and how they are dedicated to activities related to the profession and gender.

Presented by:

Francesca Franchi, AIA - Presenter

Maria Candelaria Ryberg - Moderator   



Photo of Mirene Elton Perez

Mirene Elton Pérez

Mirene Elton graduated from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1993. She continued her specialized studies by graduating with a Master of Science (Built Environment) from the University of London, 2001.

Elton is a founding partner of the office elton_léniz arquitectos asociados together with the architect Mauricio Léniz. Throughout their career they have been highlighted as young architects by Catholic University in 1997 and as 'Emerging Architectural Office AOA', by the Association of Architects Offices, 2009; among other important national and international awards.

Her academic experience includes a trajectory of 20 years as an associate professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chileand as professor of classroom workshop at the Universidad Andrés Bello and Universidad del Desarrollo at national level.
To date, her work has been published in different media in Chile and worldwide through diverse platforms, collaborating in prominent exhibitions such as "Andes Shadow, The survey as a transforming experience", 15th Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, the participation in Cut'n'Paste exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA. New York and the Iconic Award, Germany. Winners Best of Best Innovative Architecture. She received the award for Woman Architect, 'MA Awards 2022' in the consecrated category, which highlights the work of contemporary woman architect carried out in the territory of Chile. She has been on the jury of many competitions and has given lectures throughout Chile and internationally.

Her office, plus a varied list of collaborators including artists, architects, designers and photographers have worked on a wide range of commissions independently. Their work has included objects and furniture, exhibition installation, commercial spaces, interior design, housing, residential buildings, urban development, sculpture, and public and educational spaces.


Photo of Loreto Lyon

Loreto Lyon

Loreto Lyon is principal of Beals & Lyon Arquitectos, based in Santiago, Chile. She received the title of Architect from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Chile) in 2005. In 2011 she received a Master of Science degree (MSc) in ‘Environmental Design and Engineering’ from the Bartlett, University College of London (UCL). From 2004 to 2010 she worked as an associate architect with the Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, on several projects and competitions, such as the Vik Winery and the Museo de Arte Precolombino.

Lyon has been the head of the School of Architecture at the Universidad San Sebastián, in Santiago, since 2022. She has also been director of the School of Architects of Chile (2020-2023), where she co-curated and co-directed the last Architectural Biennale in Chile, “Habitats Vulnerables” (January 2023). Lyon also teaches a studio unit at the Universidad Católica de Chile, where she is an assistant professor. She has been a visiting Critic at Cornell University AAP; run workshops at the IUAV in Venice, Scola da Cidade in Sao Paulo and Universidad Católica del Perú.

In 2012, she co-founded the architectural studio Beals & Lyon Arquitectos, together with Alejandro Beals; an independent practice distinguished by careful attention to context, materials, and details. Their interests and work range from landscape and infrastructure, public buildings and spaces, to interior and furniture design. They have published, lectured and exhibited extensively. In 2016 Ediciones ARQ published the monograph Beals & Lyon Architects: Public Voids, featuring a selection of their works regarding public architecture.

The studio has been recognized with different design awards like the Oscar Niemeyer for Latin American Architecture and Plataforma Arquitectura’s Building of the Year Award; both for the project Nancagua Town Hall in Central Chile, in 2020. In 2023 they won the curatorial and design competition for the Chilean pavilion “Moving Ecologies” at the Venice Biennale “Laboratory of the Future”.


Photo of Jeanette Plaut

Jeannette Plaut

Jeannette Plaut is an architect trained at the University of Chile as well as an architectural critic and academic. She is co-founder and director of CONSTRUCTO and director of YAP_CONSTRUCTO, a Young Architects Program developed in partnership with the Museum of Modern Art.

In 2016, she was selected by MoMA to be part of the museum’s International Curatorial Institute in Modern and Contemporary Art. Plaut led the team that created the models for the MoMA’s 2015 exhibition Latin America in Construction.

Plaut has worked as a Latin American correspondent for several media outlets and has served as editor-in-chief of Trace magazine since 2010. From 2000 to 2009, she was architectural editor of Ambientes magazine. Plaut was curator of the Chilean Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, Director of the XV Chilean Architecture Biennial (2006), Director of the International Conference of Architects at the XIV Chilean Architecture Biennial (2004), and Coordinator of the International Conference of Architects at the XIV Chilean Architecture Biennial (2002).

From 2004 to 2010, she was a consultant for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean’s Division of Sustainable Development and Human Settlements. She is the author of several books, including PULSO: New Architecture in Chile, PULSO 2: New Architecture in Latin America, LATAM: Contemporary Latin American Architecture, and LATAM 2.

Plaut has taught architectural studios at the Universidad Católica in Chile, Universidad de Chile and at Andrés Bello University and has spoken at several institutions, including the University of Leipzig, Universidad Católica, MoMA, Center for Architecture, University of Johannesburg, Federico Santa María University, among others. She currently serves on the jury for the Rolex Mentor & Protégés Arts Initiative and has served on the juries for the Ibero-American Biennia, the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize, and the Dhaka Art Summit. She also co-curated EXTRA-ORDINARY: New Practices in Chilean Architecture at the Center for Architecture and CAMPUS-AULA: Contemporary Educational Architecture now on view at the Center for Architecture.


Photo of Cazu Zegers

Cazú Zegers

Cazú Zegers is a Chilean artist and architect, founder and director of Estudio Cazú Zegers. In 2019 she was included in the prestigious ELLE Decor Architecture A-List and a year later, she was recognized as one of the Latin American architects who break down barriers by Forbes Magazine.

She is an ambassador for Marca Chile, founder of the Lastarria Observatory, today Fundación +1000 and co-creator of the collaborative and educational platform Andes Workshop, together with Grupo Talca. Zegers has also served as a Visiting Professor at YSoA (Yale School of Architecture) and is a leading international speaker on various subjects.

Zegers and her architectural practice have a strong social and sustainable focus, with strong roots in the place, its local processes and materials, especially wood. Her projects cover a wide range of multidisciplinary research, moving through different scales, from the territory to the object and from the object to the territory, in a creative process that is born from geopoetry.

Her work has been awarded various prizes, such as the Versailles Grand Prix, the National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World Award and the Latin American Architecture Grand Prix (1993), among others. She has also been a finalist for the ArcVision award (2016) and in 2021 she was awarded for innovation in architecture by receiving the Dora Riedel Distinction.

During 2022 she was a finalist for the Chilean National Architecture Award, along with Smiljan Radic and Fernando Pérez Oyarzún. Today she leads as an expert in ethno-architecture and ethno-engineering in Latin America.

Organized by:

AIA|DC Design Excellence Committee

Thank You to Our Sponsors:








-Avalon Bay Communities

-Cunningham / Quill Architects PLLC

-David Haresign, FAIA

-Francesca Franchi, AIA

-Frederick & Cederna Architects

-Gerald Briggs, FAIA and Randy Briggs



-Mariela Buendia-Corrochano, IIDA, Assoc. AIA


-shalom baranes associates architects




-William Hodges Hendrix, AIA

-Winstanley Architects & Planners