Tag Archive for Prizes

Spanish Architects Receive Pritzker Prize 2017

 

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes) were awarded the 2017 Pritzker Prize. It is the 2nd time that this prestigious prize goes to a Spanish Architect (Rafael Moneo was the 1996 winner).

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem & Ramón Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes), the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

 

Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

 

The three architects have worked closely together for almost 30 years in a deliberate and thoughtful approach to architecture. 

 

Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

 

What sets them apart is their approach that creates buildings and places that are both local and universal at the same time.

 

Lake Pavilion, 2001, Llagostera, Girona, Spain

 

Based in Olot, Catalonia, Spain, they have developed a process in which neither a part nor whole of a project can be attributed to one partner, it is a true collaboration. Their creative approach is a constant intermingling of ideas and continuous dialogue.

 

La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain In collaboration with J. Puigcorbé

 

Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromisingly of its time and place.

 

Les Cols Restaurant Marquee 2011 Olot, Girona, Spain

 

Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community. They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.

 

Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

 

The Catalonian trio has an extraordinary ability to express the local, but also the universal, uniting us with one another through architecture.

 

Shadow Space Lotus Blau, 2005-2007, Santa Colona de Farners, Girona, Spain

 

The architects have also tackled important works outside their home in Catalonia. They have built in Belgium and France. The Soulages Museum (2014) in Rodez, France, for example, houses the works of the abstract painter Pierre Soulages and forms a symbiosis with the artist, who seems to paint with light. This building of steel and strong geometric shapes cantilevers over the site, seeming to defy gravity and like many of their other works is in dialogue with the landscape. The architects have sought to createa space that is as close to nature as possible, enhancing our sense that we are part of it.

 

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France In collaboration with G. Trégouët

 

The architects have built the museum almost entirely of coarse steel plate, inside and out, a material that they have worked with extensively, as in their Les Cols Restaurant in Olot. The Cor-Ten for the exterior is burnt in appearance, creating a mottled, painterly effect and echoing some of the battered, acid-etched plates for Soulages engravings.

 

 

The 2017 Pritzker Prize Jury Citation states, in part:
we live in a globalized 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.

Chilean Architect Alejandro Aravena Receives the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize

 

“Our plan is not to have a plan, face the uncertain, be open to the unexpected.” – Alejandro Aravena.

 

Alejandro Aravena, a 48-year-old architect based in Santiago, Chile is the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.

 

Aravena has won some of the most prestigious architecture prizes in the world. This time he takes home the prestigious Pritzker Prize.

Alejandro Aravena, the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

Alejandro Aravena, the 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

 

Since 2001, Aravena has been executive director of the Santiago-based ELEMENTAL, a “Do Tank,” as opposed to a think tank, whose partners are Gonzalo Arteaga, Juan Cerda, Victor Oddó, and Diego Torres.

Quinta Monroy Housing, 2004, Iquique, Chile

Quinta Monroy Housing, 2004, Iquique, Chile

 

ELEMENTAL has designed more than 2,500 units of low-cost social housing. Aravena’s social housing projects combine innovative architectural design with a social framework that encourages personal investment on the part of the inhabitants. It is a design that leaves space for the residents to complete their houses themselves and thus raise themselves up to a middle-class standard of living.

Monterrey Housing, 2010, Monterrey, Mexico

Monterrey Housing, 2010, Monterrey, Mexico

 

Aravena didn’t always have this faith. Shortly after graduating in the early 1990s, following a succession of “shitty clients … restaurants, bars, shops”, he got so disillusioned that he quit architecture and opened a bar. “I lived by night, waking up at 5pm and going to bed at 10am,” he says. When he eventually decided to resume his career, he got lucky. A sculptor asked him to design her house, and this was when he learned the lesson that perhaps makes him so intolerant of what’s on offer at the biennale. “I wanted to have that kind of freedom,” he recalls, “so I said, ‘Don’t pay me, but allow me to do whatever I want.’ I think I was rigorous enough, but it was still a completely stupid thing.”

 

Sculpor's House, Santiago, Chile

Sculpor’s House, Santiago, Chile

 

“He understands materials and construction, but also the importance of poetry and the power of architecture to communicate on many levels.”, 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury.

Siamese Towers, 2005, San Joaquín Campus, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Siamese Towers, 2005, San Joaquín Campus, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

 

The 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury Citation states in part, “Alejandro Aravena has delivered works of architectural excellence in the fields of private, public and educational commissions both in his home country and abroad…. He has undertaken projects of different scales from single-family houses to large institutional buildings….

Writer’s Cabin, 2015, Jan Michalski Foundation, Montricher, Switzerland

Writer’s Cabin, 2015, Jan Michalski Foundation, Montricher, Switzerland

 

The thinking behind the ELEMENTAL project to improve social housing is based in 2 principles:

  1. For poor people, location is even more important than is usually the case.  The key question is – “Where is social housing located.”
  2. A house should gain in value.  Social housing should be an investment, not a social expense.
Villa Verde Housing, 2013, Constitución, Chile

Villa Verde Housing, 2013, Constitución, Chile

 

Aravena’s work reminds us that architecture is not just a cultural act but a social one.

You can watch Aravena’s TED talk – My architectural philosophy? Bring the community into the process – here:

 

Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban Becomes 2014 Pritzker Laureate

 

Shigeru Ban, a Tokyo-born, 56-year-old architect is the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate.

Reached at his Paris office, Shigeru Ban said, “Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful. I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing — not to change what I am doing, but to grow.“

 

Shigeru

Shigeru Ban, the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

Shigeru started his practice without any working experience right after he graduated from Cooper Union (New York). He is well known for making monumentality out of cardboard.

Shigeru has used cardboard tubes to build a number of structures. He hates to thrown things away, and in 1985 when he was left with lots of cardboard tubes from an exhibition he designed for Emilio Ambasz, he decided to re-use them for an exhibition for Alvar Aalto. This was the first time he began experimenting with spatial applications for cardboard tubes.

Ban's Alvar Aalto Exhibition (1986) in Tokyo, where he first began experimenting with spatial applications for cardboard tubes.

Alvar Aalto Exhibition,1986, Tokyo

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Ban’s humanitarian work began in response to the 1994 conflict in Rwanda, which threw millions of people into tragic living conditions. Ban proposed paper-tube shelters to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and they hired him as a consultant.

Paper Log House, 1995, Kobe, Japan

Paper Log House, 1995, Kobe, Japan

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Shigeru Ban reflects the spirit of the prize to the fullest. He is an outstanding architect who, for twenty years, has been responding with creativity and high quality design to extreme situations caused by devastating natural disasters. His buildings provide shelter, community centers, and spiritual places for those who have suffered tremendous loss and destruction. When tragedy strikes, he is often there from the beginning, as in Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Italy, and Haiti, and his home country of Japan, among others.

 

Paper Temporary Studio, 2004, Paris, France

Paper Temporary Studio, 2004, Paris, France

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His own studio, a top terrace at the Pompidou Center in Paris for the six years he was working on the museum project for Metz, was built using cardboard tubes and a membrane covering the arched roof.

 

Cardboard Cathedral, 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand

Cardboard Cathedral, 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand

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In an interview with Hans-Ulrich Obrist in 1999 Shigeru Ban said  “this material is much stronger than I expected. People have the preconceived idea that paper is very weak, but paper is an industrial material: we can make it fire retardant or waterproof, and we can make it as strong as wood. I started testing the strength of paper tube and found it was strong enough to make a building structrure.”

 

Japan Pavilion, Expo 2000 Hannover, 2000, Germany

Japan Pavilion, Expo 2000 Hannover, 2000, Germany

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For Shigeru Ban, sustainability is not a concept to add on after the fact; rather, it is intrinsic to architecture. His works strive for appropriate products and systems that are in concert with the environment and the specific context, using renewable and locally produced materials, whenever possible.

 

Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club House, 2010, Korea

Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club House, 2010, Korea

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Shigeru Ban is a tireless architect whose work exudes optimism. Where others may see insurmountable challenges, Ban sees a call to action. Where others might take a tested path, he sees the opportunity to innovate. He is a committed teacher who is not only a role model for younger generations, but also an inspiration.

 

Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2010, France

Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2010, France

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We have selected some interesting excerpts from Shigeru Ban’s interview with Hans-Ulrich Obrist in 1999.

HUO: Hassan Fathy wrote in the 1960’s on architecture for the poor. He says that for very few dollars it would be possible to grant housing to everybody all over the world, and solve the world’s housing problem. This seems to be a contemporary form of Fathy’s philosophy: housing for all. Was this social dimension of architecture always important for you, or was it triggered by some special momentum?

SB: When I came back form the United States, I was very shocked to know that in Japan, people didn’t respect architects. I thought about why: historically we didn’t have architects only 120 years ago we invited English architects to educate the people. Before, all Japanese building was built by carpenters, and none of their names remains. We don’t have a long history of architects. I thought it is the reason why architects are not respected in Japan, but that was not the real reason.

When I experienced the economic boom, many architects were just building monuments to show their ego. Architects are generally very egoistic, including me, I’d like to build my monument, too; there’s no doubt about that. But it’s not the only thing I want to do. I wanted to use my skills and knowledge for for a society. The reason I worked for Kobe and Rwanda, is, obviously, the humanitarian feeling, but also to develop my ideas further and apply them at the same time, as long as I’m satisfying the humanitarian need. The two things are mixed together.

HUO: Buildings are ephemeral…

SB: I’m always asked how long the paper structure will last. I always ask them in return how long they think wooden construction lasts. There are so many buildings in Japan which have lasted over five hundred years and more . Wood is very weak for water, even termite, but we invented beautiful joineries to replace damaged parts, so the life span of the material has nothing to do with the life span of the building, even when the material is weak, we can exchange it, so the life span of the building can go on forever. I don’t know about the durability of the life span, but it must last a very long time. But it doesn’t matter how long the paper tube lasts; if it’s damaged I can change it, so the building itself lasts forever.

HUO: So it’s actually a cliche.

SB: Yes. I think it’s interesting to show Western people the cliche. Also, this may be the traditional way of Japanese thinking. We use weak materials the way they are; I can build the papertube much stronger, even much stronger than wood, but I have no interest in making stronger materials. I’m interested in using a weak material the way it is. So that I need a weak material to create this very special space.

 

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