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RCR Arquitectes

Project - Winners of the 2017 Pritzker Prize for Architecture


Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta were selected as the winners of the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The Pritzker award, which is widely regarded as architecture’s highest accolade, honours a living architect or architects “whose built work demonstrates a combination of talent, vision and commitment, and who has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment.”

The three architects, originating from Olot in the Catalonian region of Spain, have worked together collaboratively since founding their firm RCR Arquitectes in their hometown in 1988.

Their notable leisure projects include La Cuisine Art Center (Nègrepelisse, France, 2014), Soulages Museum (Rodez, France, 2014), La Lira Theater Public Open Space (Ripoll, Girona, Spain, 2011), Les Cols restaurant marquee (Olot, Girona, Spain, 2011) and the Tossol-Basil Athletics Track (Olot, Girona, Spain, 2000).

According to the Pritzker judges: “Their work demonstrates an unyielding commitment to place and its narrative, creating spaces that are in discourse with their respective contexts.

“Harmonising materiality with transparency, Aranda, Pigem and Vilalta seek connections between the exterior and interior, resulting in emotional and experiential architecture.”

This is the first time three architects together have been honoured with the prize.

“Their intensely collaborative way of working together, where the creative process, commitment to vision and all responsibilities are shared equally, led to the selection of the three individuals for this year’s award,” the judes said.

In response, Pigem said: “It is a great joy and a great responsibility. We are thrilled that this year three professionals, who work closely together in everything we do, are recognised.”

It is the second time that the Pritzker has gone to an architect from Spain, following Rafael Moneo who received the award in 1996.

Tom Pritzker, chairman of Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award, said: “Aranda, Pigem and Vilalta have had an impact on the discipline far beyond their immediate area.

“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 stands as testament to their process and deep integrity.”

Jury chair Glenn Murcutt added: “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.”

The Pritzker Prize awards ceremony will take place at the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on May 20, 2017.

What the jury said

“In this day and age, there is an important question that people all over the world are asking, and it is not just about architecture; it’s about law, politics, and government as well. We live in a globalised world where we must rely on international influences, trade, discussion and transactions. But more and more people fear that, because of this international influence, we will lose our local values, our local art and our local customs. They are concerned and sometimes frightened.

“Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta tell us that it may be possible to have both. They help us to see, in a most beautiful and poetic way, that the answer to the question is not ‘either/or’ and that we can – at least in architecture – aspire to have both; our roots firmly in place and our arms outstretched to the rest of the world. And that is such a wonderfully reassuring answer, particularly if it applies in other areas of modern human life as well.”

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CLAD people: RCR Arquitectes
On winning the Pritzker Prize
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