Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta have been announced winners of the 2017 Pritzker Prize. The architects, part of Catalan firm RCR Arquitectes, have received recognition for their extensive portfolio of landmark projects, including Soulages Museum, La Lira Theatre. Public Space and the A+Award-winning Crematorium Hofheide (designed in collaboration with Coussée & Goris architecten). It is the first time a trio of architects have received the award.
“The jury has selected three architects who have been working collaboratively for nearly three decades,” remarked Mr. Pritzker upon the announcement. “Mr. Aranda, Ms. Pigem and Mr. Vilalta have had an impact on the discipline far beyond their immediate area. Their works range from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, and their ability to intensely relate the environment specific to each site is a testament to their process and deep integrity.”
Soulages Museum, Rodez, France
La Lira Theatre. Public Space, Ripoll, Spain
Crematorium Hofheide, Holsbeek, Belgium
Today represents a celebratory moment for the architectural community and marks a step away from the typical selections of Pritzker Architecture Prize jury, which have long been criticized for their lack of representation of everyone in the profession. The Pritzker’s reputation for choosing “star architects” over potentially more worthy but lesser-known architects was addressed in part by the selection of Alejandro Aravena last year, and that trend appears to be continuing this year.
The inequality embedded within the award was most clear in 1991, when Robert Venturi received the prize — his wife and business partner Denise Scott Brown was completely ignored at that time, a scandal that the 2014 Pritzker Prize Jury failed to rectify when an appeal was launched to give Brown retrospective recognition. Ultimately, architectural awards benefit from a democratic selection process, which is why Architizer launched the A+Awards back in 2013.
While the Pritzker Prize jury — a select group of architects and critics with their own agendas — huddles in a darkened room to choose a single recipient, the A+Awards celebrates the opinions of a public that lives, works and plays within architecture every single day. Every vote is equal, so as you select your favorite project from the shortlist on March 14 this year, your voice will be heard just as loudly as Lord Peter Palumbo’s, Glenn Murcutt’s and Richard Rogers’s.
After all, you don’t need to be a Pritzker juror to be inspired by great design and the people behind it.