In this series of movies, Pritzker Prize 2017 laureates Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta describe how nature, landscape and “atmospheres” influence their approach to architecture.
The RCR Arquitectes founders, who are based in Spain’s Catalonia Region, have received critical acclaim for projects including the Tossols-Basil Athletics Track in Olot and the Bell-Lloc Winery in Girona.
The trio talk through the different aspects of their design process in these four films, released today to coincide with the announcement that they have won architecture’s most prestigious award.
In the first film, the architects explain the importance of place in their designs – whether at home or abroad.
“When we begin a project, we are very interested in visiting the place,” says Pigem. “We are used to ‘reading’ the place as if it spoke to us with its own alphabet – an alphabet established between the site and us.”
“Building in places far from home, encourages us to understand those places,” adds Aranda. “We are passionate about this. We do not want to do the same thing that we do at home and just transplant it.”
In the second of the four movies, the architects describe their quest for architectural beauty, which they try to create through relationships between their buildings and nature.
“We like to speak of creating atmospheres. We have always tried to create architecture that makes people feel it, to evoke feelings and transmit a sensation of well-being and beauty,” says Aranda.
“We like to speak of beauty. We believe in this – architecture that conveys beauty.”
“For us, nature and landscape have always been important. We have learned a lot from nature, even from an early age. Our relationship with it is frank, direct,” adds Vilalta.
The use of materials is the subject of the third movie. The trio advocate a “less is more” approach to construction, using few and natural materials whenever possible.
“We have believed in trying to do the maximum using the minimum,” claims Aranda.
“By using just one material we hope to be able to create an atmosphere. And this is positive for us.”
In the fourth and final movie, Vilalta talks about the value in working as a collaborative – referencing the fact that no trio has ever won the Pritzker Prize before now.
“We have believed in dialogue. In a way it’s like ‘spoken jazz’,” he says. “One says something, another one continues.”
“This type of conversation takes you to unexpected places. It’s almost a reaction against the contemporary world that has promoted, in and exaggerated way, the value of the individual.”
RCR Arquitectes are 39th recipients of the Pritzker Prize. The trio will receive a $100,000 (£81,000) grant and bronze medallion at a ceremony held at the State Guest House in Tokyo on 20 May 2017.
“Aranda, Pigem and Vilalta have had an impact on the discipline far beyond their immediate area,” said the Pritzker jury, which was chaired by Australian architect Glenn Murcutt.
“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.”