Catalonian architects Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta just won the 2017 Pritzker Prize
, often considered the Nobel Prize of architecture.
The three architects come from RCR Arquitectes, a design firm based in Girona, Spain. The team has worked on a wide range of projects, including the Library of Sant Antoni in Barcelona, the Tussols-Basil Athletics Stadium in Olot, Spain, and the Bell-Lloc winery in Girona. Known for their local works, the architects often make use of modern materials like recycled steel and plastic.
The jury applauded the architects for devoting their careers to regional work, and evoking a strong sense of place in their buildings.
“Their works admirably and poetically fulfil the traditional requirements of architecture for physical and spatial beauty along with function and craftsmanship, but what sets them apart is their approach that creates buildings and places that are both local and universal at the same time,” the jury writes.
As Fast Company points out, RCR Arquitectes’ win may signal a departure from “starchitecture” (a term popularised in the last decade that refers to high-profile buildings designed by celebrity architects). RCR Arquitectes is far from being a starchitect firm — it’s a little-known firm that designs modest works specific to their geographic locations and communities.
With their Pritzker Prize win, however, Aranda, Pigem, and Vilalta may soon gain more star power.