Last Sunday in Tokyo, in a ceremony presided by the Japanese emperor Akihito, the Catalan architects Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, founders of RCR Arquitectes since 1988, received the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize, considered the Nobel Prize in architecture.
The event took place in Japan for the second time in almost 40 years of history of the award, in the Akasaka Palace, a neo-baroque style building.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have presided this event with which Aranda, Pigem and Vilalta have become part of the great names of contemporary architecture.
As we already told when the Prize was announced last March, it was the first time the laureates are three, and the second time the winner is a Spanish architect. The first spanish architect to be honoured was Rafael Moneo in 1996. The Jury Citation said:
Their works admirably and poetically fulfill 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.
“Emotion, happiness, pride, responsibility and admiration for those who won before” were the first words of the simple and poetic speech given in English by Carme Pigem, representing his colleagues.
“Being in this Palace in Japan brings us memories of when we first came to this country for the first time. So we feel here the taste for the exquisite and the respect for nature, something that has accompanied us throughout our career.”
The jury president, Australian architect Glenn Murcutt, said during the ceremony that the work of these three Catalans confirms that “an architectural work can be modest and audacious at the same time” and has defined them as a team of “six hands and one only voice”.
Read about the 2017 Prtizker Award Announcement here.