Triple threat

Founders of RCR Ar­chi­tects, de­sign­ers of Muraba Res­i­dences Palm Jumeirah, win the 39th Pritzker Ar­chi­tec­ture Prize


Founders of RCN Arqui­tectes, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ra­mon Vi­lalta, have each been se­lected as 2017 Pritzker Ar­chi­tec­ture Prize Lau­re­ates. Known for their ex­tra­or­di­nary ca­pa­bil­ity for chore­ograph­ing land­scape and ar­chi­tec­ture to cre­ate build­ings with a high­ly­at­tuned sense of place, they have brought their ex­em­plary style to Dubai’s Muraba Res­i­dences, Palm Jumeirah.

“It is a great joy and a great re­spon­si­bil­ity. We are thrilled that this year three pro­fes­sion­als, who work closely to­gether in ev­ery­thing they do, are recog­nised,” says Pigem.

Orig­i­nally from Olot, in the Cat­alo­nian re­gion of Spain, the team has worked to­gether since 1988. The awards mark the first time that three ar­chi­tects have been hon­oured with the prize. Their work cap­tured the at­ten­tion of the Pritzker jury due to their abil­ity to cre­ate an emo­tional ar­chi­tec­tural ex­pe­ri­ence.

The 2017 Pritzker Prize Jury Ci­ta­tion ex­plained the de­ci­sion: “We live in a glob­alised world where we must rely on in­ter­na­tional in­flu­ences, trade, dis­cus­sion, trans­ac­tions, etc. But more and more peo­ple fear that be­cause of this in­ter­na­tional in­flu­ence…we will lose our lo­cal val­ues, our lo­cal art, and our lo­cal cus­toms… Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ra­mon Vi­lalta tell us that it may be pos­si­ble to have both. They help us to see, in a most beau­ti­ful and poetic way, that the an­swer to the ques­tion is not ‘ei­ther/or’ and that we can, at least in ar­chi­tec­ture, as­pire to have both; our roots firmly in place and our arms out­stretched to the rest of the world.”

RCR’s de­signs for Muraba Res­i­dence re­flect the de­sign phi­los­o­phy that led to their cov­eted awards. They closely fol­lowed an un­usual brief, rather than de­sign­ing us­ing the tra­di­tional ap­proach, which is to de­sign the out­side of the build­ing and then ‘fit’ the apart­ments into that space.

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