Catalonian architects Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta have been selected as the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates.

The founders of RCR Arquitectes were chosen for architecture’s highest honour by a jury comprising renowned architects, businessmen, educators and publishers, including Australia’s own Glenn Murcutt.

Aranda, Pigem and Vilalta, who have worked collaboratively since founding RCR Arquitectes in 1988, are the first threesome to win the coveted prize and mark the second time that the laureates hail from Spain.

Their intensely collaborative way of working together, where the “creative process, commitment to vision and all responsibilities are shared equally”, was cited by the jury as a major reason the three individuals were presented this year’s award. 

The architects’ portfolio, which includes notable projects like the Bell-Lloc Winery in Palamos, Spain and the El Petit Comte Kindergarten in Girona, Spain, was also commended by the jury for its demonstration of an “unyielding commitment to place and its narrative” and its harmonisation of materiality and transparency.

Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain. Photography by Hisao Suzuki

El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain In collaboration with J. Puigcorbé Photography by Hisao Suzuki

Australia’s Glenn Murcutt who was this year’s Jury Chair remarks:

“They’ve demonstrated that unity of a material can lend such incredible strength and simplicity to a building,” says Murcutt.

“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.” 

  • Read full jury citation below.

Les Cols Restaurant Marquee 2011 Olot, Girona, Spain. Photography by Hisao Suzuki

Row House 2012 Olot, Girona, Spain. Photo by Hisao Suzuki

In response to being named the 2017 Laureates of the Pritzker Prize, Pigem states: “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.”

In 2013 Aranda, Pigem and Vilalta founded RCR BUNKA Foundation to support architecture, landscape, arts and culture throughout society. They have been consultant architects to the Natural Park of the Volcanic Zone of La Garrotxa since 1989. Much of their work may be seen throughout Catalonia, Spain and greater Europe. They remain based in Olot.

This year, the Pritzker Prize ceremony will take place at the State Guest House, Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on May 20, 2017.

Full Jury Citation