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Prize-winning architecture in Catalonia

  • Espacio Barberi, Olot. Girona. RCR Arquitectes © Hisao Suzuki

    Espacio Barberi, Olot. Girona. RCR Arquitectes © Hisao Suzuki

  • Les Cols restaurant, Olot. RCR Arquitectes © Hisao Suzuki

    Les Cols restaurant, Olot. RCR Arquitectes © Hisao Suzuki

  • Espacio La Lira Teatro, Ripoll. Girona. RCR Arquitectes © Hisao Suzuki

    Espacio La Lira Teatro, Ripoll. Girona. RCR Arquitectes © Hisao Suzuki

  • El petit comte nursery, Besalú. Girona. RCR Arquitectes © Hisao Suzuki

    El petit comte nursery, Besalú. Girona. RCR Arquitectes © Hisao Suzuki

  
  


"For the first time in its history, the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize has been awarded to three architects, the members of the Catalan studio RCR Arquitectes, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramón ..."

For the first time in its history, the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize has been awarded to three architects, the members of the Catalan studio RCR Arquitectes, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramón Vilalta. This is a summary of some of their most significant projects in Catalonia. A journey through which we will discover the award is well-deserved.

Many of the buildings by award-winning RCR Arquitectes are in the provinces of Girona and Barcelona. Respect for pre-existing elements and harmony between what is local and what is universal are the fundamental principles of their work. This architectural tour can easily be taken by car, and reveals buildings of every kind, from wineries and restaurants to town squares, libraries and sports facilities.

Beauty in nature

The first place on the route is RCR’s own architecture studio, Espacio Barberi. In the town of Olot (Girona), in a former smithy, its creators describe it as “the pavilion of dreams”, with the garden pavilion being the most notable element. Also in Olot, other projects include Les Cols restaurant and its adjacent hotel, Les Cols Pabellones, where the furniture, design and materials create a surprising play of reflections, open to nature.

Olot athletics stadium is another example of RCR’s environmentally-friendly architecture; in these facilities Aranda, Pigem and Vilalta wanted to recover the spirit of the first Olympic games in Greece. In the same town, the Casa Entremuros is a surprising minimalistic private house on the plot of an earlier house, conserving the roof and exterior walls of the original structure.

Everyday architecture

The tour continues in Ripoll (34 kilometres from Olot), to see the La Lira Theatre Public Space: a covered square on the land of a former theatre, the entrance to the old town centre on one side and the new part of town via a footbridge over the river Ter. From Olot, you can go to Besalú (22 kilometres) to admire the colour, functionality and fun structure of the nursery “El petit comte”

Another iconic building is in Palamós (70 kilometres from Besalú): the Bell-lloc winery. In the middle of a forest, its fusion with the natural landscape around it is spectacular.

Surprising spaces

The last stage of the journey brings us to Barcelona, and two more places: Albert Adriá’s Enigma restaurant, where the aquatic effects and play of light produce decoration as creative as the cuisine; and Biblioteca Sant Antoni-Joan Oller, a space converted to a library, seniors centre and bookshop, with an inner part for public use, where natural light is the protagonist.  

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