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Pritzker-winning architects to look at ‘next 30 years of career’ in Venice

RCR Arquitectes are to design the Catalan pavilion in the 2018 biennale

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29 November 2017 07:31 PM

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ACN | Olot

After winning this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize, the world’s most prestigious award in the field, three Catalan architects based in the Northern town of Olot are to look at the next 30 years of their career in the next Venice biennale.

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, the three members of PCR Arquitectes, are to design the Catalan pavilion that will be displayed at the 2018 exhibition.

Their project is two-fold: on the one hand, they will present an overview of their work since they began their careers three decades ago; on the other, they will look ahead, to answer the question what comes next.

“How did we get here? It’s been 30 years since we started working in architecture, and it’s the moment to revisit what we’ve done,” said Pigem in an interview with ACN. “But we’re also saying ‘Ok, these were the first 30 years: now let’s look at what we’ll do in the next 30. It’s like a window into what is yet to come.”

  • "What sets [RCR Arquitectes] apart is their approach that creates buildings and places that are both local and universal at the same time"

    Pritzker's prize jury


PCR Arquitectes are the first team of three to be awarded the Pritzker prize, the so-called Nobel prize of architecture. The laureates list includes prestigious names such as Norman Foster, Oscar Niemeyer or Frank Gehry.

In a time of rampant globalization, the jury made a point of recognizing the work of a local firm: “More and more people fear that because of this international influence we will lose our local values, our local art, and our local customs.”

“Their works admirably and poetically fulfil the traditional requirements of architecture for physical and spatial beauty, along with function and craftsmanship,” read the jury’s statement, “but what sets them apart is their approach that creates buildings and places that are both local and universal at the same time.”

Home and abroad

Indeed, PCR Arquitectes’ works can be found throughout Catalonia — especially in Olot. They designed an athletics track for the town, as well as an open-air restaurant. In Barcelona, they turned an ancient candy factory into the Joan Oliver library.

In the years to come, they aim to continue working both in Catalonia and abroad. They are currently looking at projects in China, the U.S. and in the Catalan town of Vic, close to their office in Olot.

They are not planning to go big after winning the award: theirs is a small office, and it will stay as it is. What they do appreciate, though, is the possibility of being able to pick those projects that they are really interested in, as it takes them nearly five years to complete each work.

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  • Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta at their studio in Olot (By Marina López)

  • Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta at their studio in Olot (By Marina López)