Spanish architects, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, have been named the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates.
The architects, who are based in the north-east of Spain in the Catalonian region, are renowned for retaining remnants of original buildings, and blending them with highly contrasting, new elements, and only adding new materials where essential.
The trio were selected by the jury, which consists of reknowned architects Glenn Murcutt (of Australia), Stephen Breyer, Yung Ho Chang, Kristin Feireiss, The Lord Palumbo, Richard Rogers, Benedetta Tagliabue, and Ratan N. Tata.
Previous winners of the Pritzker prize, which is considered as architecture’s highest honor, have included Glenn Murcutt (Australia, 2002), Zaha Hadid (Iraq / the UK, 2004), Renzo Piano (Italy, 1998), Frank Gehry (Canada / the US, 1989), and Richard Rogers (the UK, 2007).
The 2017 winners have worked together in their home town, Olot, since founding their firm RCR Arquitectes in 1988. Their work shows a strong commitment to the environment and history, and they are renowned for their use of authentic materials, including transparent materials.
Tom Pritzker, Chairman of Hyatt Foundation, who announced the prize, said, “The jury has selected three architects who have been working collaboratively for nearly three decades. Mr Aranda, Ms Pigem and Mr 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 is a testament to their process and deep integrity.”
It is the first time three architects have been jointly awarded the prize, but the joint prize is in keeping with the "intensely collaborative" way the parties working together, according to statements.
Winner Carme 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 recognized.”
“They’ve demonstrated that unity of a material can lend such incredible strength and simplicity to a building,” said Glenn Murcutt, Jury Chair.
“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 2017 Pritzker Prize Jury citation states, “We live in a globalized world where we must rely on international influences, trade, discussion, 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. 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.”
Read the 2017 Pritzker Prize Jury Citation in full here.
The Pritzker Prize ceremony will take place at the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace, Tokyo, Japan, on 20 May 2017.
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