img.0Row House, Olot, Girona, Spain. Image © Hisao Suzuki
It has been announced that the three catalan architects of RCR arquitectes have won the 2017 Pritzker Prize Award. As the most prestigious prize in architecture, this year’s recipients are a shift from the more predictable laureates who lie in the category of being internationally well-known. Together, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta have made a name within Catalonia since forming their firm in 1988; their schemes weaving architecture and landscape to foster a sensitive and intangible presence no matter its context. They have undoubtedly established a portfolio of projects that reflect the progressive and dynamic nature of their home region in north-east Spain. With this, we take a look at some of RCR arquitectes’ most notable projects that captured the attention of this year’s Pritzker judges.
img.1Soulages Museum, Rodez, France designed in collaboration with G. Trégouët (above and main). Image © Hisao Suzuki
Cor-ten volumes punctuate the hillscape demonstrated in the ‘Soulages Museum’ that was completed in 2014 in the small city of Rodez in France. It houses the diverse collection of works by the abstract artist Pierre Soulage, from stained glass windows, preparatory works for the glass, as well as complete printed pieces. The building, realized in collaboration with local practice Passelac et Roques architects, is formed by a succession of cubes. Using just one material, cor-ten steel, the building and landscape merge together and will slowly change over time.
img.2Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Spain. Image © Hisao Suzuki
A folded metallic roof tops the ‘Bell–Lloc Winery’ with inclining walls that create a large window with views facing the forest. The vineyards cover the cellar and the folded roof protects the laboratory and the walkways. RCR arquitectes designed the building as an experience for all the senses. The silence can be ‘heard’, the aroma of the wine can be perceived, the strength of the materials and the changes in temperature can be felt, the minimal light and shadows are experienced.
img.3La Lira Theater Public Open Space, Ripoll, Girona. Image © Hisao Suzuki
A new ‘stage’ was constructed for the people of Ripoll in 2011. Designed in collaboration with J. Puigcorbé, the covered square, where a theater once existed, became an accessible urban stage and meeting place due to the 40-meter footbridge that crosses the river.
img.4Les Cols Restaurant Marquee 2011, Olot, Girona. Image © Hisao Suzuki
A lightweight roof made of tubes gently curves due to its weight to form the canopy over the les cols restaurant in Olot. Seeking to evoke family picnics in the countryside or outdoor gatherings with friends, RCR created a semi-open event and banqueting space outside the le cols restaurant. The terrain was hollowed out to be able to make the structure unobtrusive, but also to allow for beautiful views of the surrounding volcanic countryside. The stone that was removed was returned to the site in the form of walls, embankments and pavements.
img.5Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, Barcelona, Spain. Image © Hisao Suzuki
The library, named in honor of playwright and poet Joan Oliver, came about through a competition won by RCR in 2005. The architects’ proposed the construction of extra programs including urban amenities, a library and senior citizens center. The team sought to make the street more dynamic and to open up the inner courtyard for public use, as well as to create a library. The glass-enclosed main reading room is raised up and set between the two lateral wings of the library, which allow light to enter through from both sides, forming a gateway into the public space.
img.6Row House, Olot, Girona, Spain. Image © Hisao Suzuki
The architects’ designed a private residence in their home town of olot. Sited between two walls, the old, dilapidated house was removed but the main façade preserved, as required by the town for heritage purposes. The proposal saw the dwelling conceived as a single space with floating platforms at different levels to create the interior living spaces. The concept the architects followed throughout the entire project was to return to what is essential to a home; the reduction of unnecessary spaces, and rethinking the nature of the house to allow the activity inside to flow naturally.
img.7El Petit Comte Kindergarten, Besalú, Girona, Spain. Image © Hisao Suzuki
Vertical tubes of different diameters create a perimeter using a rainbow of colors, referencing giant colored pencils surrounding the municipal school built to free up the old site in the town of Besalú. Floor to ceiling glass is used to enclose much of the building, so that natural light full of colour filters in.
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