Pritzker Architecture Prize Image: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Photo by Javier Lorenzo Domínguez
In a historic move, a trio of Spanish architects from the firm RCR Arquitectes were all announced as winners of the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize – one of the most prestigious architectural honours in the word.
Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta were selected by the Hyatt Foundation for the prize and were predominantly recognised for demonstrating an unyielding commitment to place and its narrative, to create spaces that are in discourse with their respective contexts.
On behalf of the prize’s major sponsoring company, Hyatt Foundation Chairman Tom Pritzker said the prize also went to the trio for their ability to harmonise materiality with transparency and how they “seek connections between the exterior and interior, resulting in emotional and experiential architecture”.
“Working collaboratively for nearly three decades, Mr. Aranda, Ms. Pigem and Mr. Vilalta have had an impact on the discipline far beyond their immediate area,” Mr. Pritzker said.
“Their works range from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, and their ability to intensely relate the environment specific to each site is a testament to their process and deep integrity.”
Mr. Aranda, Ms. Pigem and Mr. Vilalta’s shared award was in fact the first time that the prize was shared between more than one person.
“It is a great joy and a great responsibility,” Ms. Pigem said.
“We are thrilled that this year three professionals, who work closely together in everything we do, are recognised.”
Glenn Murcutt, who was a Jury Chair for this year’s prize, said the architects evoke universal identity through their creative and extensive use of modern materials including recycled steel and plastic.
“They’ve demonstrated that unity of a material can lend such incredible strength and simplicity to a building.
“The collaboration of these three architects produces uncompromising architecture of a poetic level, representing timeless work that reflects great respect for the past, while projecting clarity that is of the present and the future.”
Their most notable projects include:
- La Cuisine Art Center (Nègrepelisse, France, 2014)
- Soulages Museum in collaboration with G. Trégouët (Rodez, France, 2014)
- La Lira Theater Public Open Space in collaboration with J. Puigcorbé (Ripoll, Girona, Spain, 2011)
- Les Cols restaurant marquee (Olot, Girona, Spain, 2011)
- El Petit Comte Kindergarten in collaboration with J. Puigcorbé (Besalú, Girona, Spain, 2010)
- Bell-Lloc Winery (Palamós, Girona, Spain, 2007)
- Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizen’s Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens (Barcelona, Spain, 2007)
- and Tossol-Basil Athletics Track (Olot, Girona, Spain, 2000)
In 2013 Mr. Aranda, Ms. Pigem and Mr. Vilalta founded RCR BUNKA Foundation to support architecture, landscape, arts and culture throughout society.
They have been consultant architects to the Natural Park of the Volcanic Zone of La Garrotxa since 1989.
Much of their work may be seen throughout Catalonia, Spain and greater Europe. They remain based in Olot. This year, the Pritzker Prize ceremony will take place at the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on May 20, 2017.
The international prize, which is awarded each year to a living architect/s for significant achievement, was established by the Pritzker family of Chicago through their Hyatt Foundation in 1979. It is granted annually and is often referred to as “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honour.”
Images: Courtesy Hisao Suzuki