2017 Pritzker Prize goes to Catalan firm RCR Arquitectes

March 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Architecture’s most distinguished award just went to a relatively unknown firm from Catalonia. The Pritzker Prize recipients Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta from RCR Arquitectes have completed few projects outside of northeast Spain , but their elegant work emphasizing the environment has gained global attention. The trio started their firm in Olot, Catalonia in 1988. They’ve designed projects as diverse as an athletics track to a kindergarten. Pritzker jury chair Glenn Murcutt, an Australian architect, said of RCR Arquitectes, “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 future.” Related: 2016 Pritzker Prize awarded to Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena The firm emphasizes structures that will last. They eschew trends in favor of well-done construction. They’re known for taking care to fit structures in beautifully with surrounding nature. They sometimes will design custom furniture for the buildings, finding it hard to find other furniture that fits their vision. There are even rumors they ask clients to sign contracts saying they won’t change the buildings since they constructed so precisely. Many of RCR Arquitectes’ projects can be found in Catalonia, although they have also designed a museum and art center in France. Recycled steel or plastic are often among the building materials they utilize. Their Tossols-Basil Athletics Track in Girona, Spain winds through oak forest clearings, deftly avoiding trees, and is green to match the natural surroundings. A sloped pathway takes visitors down to their Bell-Lloc Winery, also in Girona, beneath a roof of recycled steel. The dark interior, broken up by light streaming through slots in the roof, provides visitors with a new perspective on winemaking. Their El Petit Comte Kindergarten lacks conventional walls; instead, colorful plastic tubes let light filter playfully through. Some are solid and others can be turned, allowing children to interact and play with the building itself. Even RCR Arquitectes’ office provides a glimpse into their unique design. They converted an old 20th century foundry, preserving older features of the building like crumbling walls while adding massive glass windows to flood the space with natural light. + RCR Arquitectes + Pritzker Prize Via Dezeen and The Guardian Images via Pritzker

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2017 Pritzker Prize goes to Catalan firm RCR Arquitectes


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