IN AN OBLIQUE commentary on global politics, the Pritzker Prize jury just awarded architecture’s highest honor to a little-known trio of Spanish architects who carefully honor local topography and culture in their contemporary designs.
Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta are the principals at RCR Arquitectes, a small studio in Olot, a Catalonian town known for welcoming immigrants. The firm’s oeuvre is similarly provincial: Notable projects include a swooping canopy of a restaurant, a winery nestled into the earth, and a technicolor school, all in the Girona region of Spain. The trio have a taste for dark ochre-colored steel and soaring glass panels that bring the outdoors inside, at least visually. “But what sets them apart,” the jurors wrote, “is their approach that creates buildings and places that are both local and universal at the same time.”