Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, all three co-founders of RCR Arquitectes, have been named the laureates of the 2017 Pritzker Prize. Dubbed as the "Nobel Prize" of architecture, the illustrious Pritzker isn't only a big deal in terms of prestige. Once the latest laureate is revealed, the debate surrounding the prize is ignited once more — from questioning the prize's significance in the field to discussing which architect should have won.
It's the first time that three architects have been honored with the prize. Originally from Olot in the Catalonian region of Spain, Aranda, Pigem, and Vilalta have worked closely together since founding RCR Arquitectes in 1988. It was this nearly three-decade collaboration — along with their longtime commitment to creative vision and equal sharing of responsibilities — that led the jury to select all three architects to win.
Emphasizing place, narrative, and materiality in their work, their projects “seek connections between the exterior and interior, resulting in emotional and experiential architecture”. Here are some of their notable projects, many of which can be found throughout Catalonia, Spain, and greater Europe:
↑ Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
↑ Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France. In collaboration with G. Trégouët. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
↑ La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain. In collaboration with J. Puigcorbé. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
↑ El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain. In collaboration with J. Puigcorbé. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
↑ Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
↑ Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
↑ Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
↑ Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
↑ La Cuisine Art Center, 2014,a Nègrepelisse, France. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
↑ Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain. Photo: Hisao Suzuki.
“They’ve demonstrated that unity of a material can lend such incredible strength and simplicity to a building,” Jury Chair Glenn Murcutt said in a statement. “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.”
Pritzker laureates receive a US$100,000 prize, a formal citation certificate, and a bronze medallion inspired by the designs of iconic architect Louis Sullivan. The winners will be presented with the award during a formal ceremony at the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on May 20.
Over the last decade, previous laureates include Alejandro Aravena (2016), the late Frei Otto (2015), Shigeru Ban (2014), Toyo Ito (2013), Wang Shu (2012), Eduardo Souto de Moura (2011), SANAA (2010), Peter Zumthor (2009), and Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2006).