Tag Archive for Architects

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.



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.

3 Things You Didn’t Know Architects Do #3


The Architect has very considerable powers under the Building Contract although is not a party to it.

The Architect must act upon a fair and proper interpretation of the contract as an independent observer. S/he must act fairly and impartially between the parties.

Contract administration can be quite complex and this (short) post by no means explores all that is involved. We just want to highlight 3 things you (probably) didn’t know architects do when they are appointed for the Construction Stage of your project:

1. Prepare the Building Contract

2. Issue Certificates for Payment to the Contractor

3. Issue Instructions to the Contractor

Under the standard RIAI Building contracts the Architect/Contract Administrator has the power to issue instructions to the contractor.

Instructions may relate to:

  • the modification of the design, quality or quantity of the works or the addition, omission or substituition of any work (“Variations”);
  • the correction of discrepancies between the contract documents;
  • the removal of materials from site;
  • the opening up for inspection of any work covered up;
  • the removal and/or re-execution of of any work not in accordance with the contract;
  • the postponement of work;
  • the dismissal of incompetent or misconducting personnel;
  • the amending and making good of any defects;
  • and any other matters relating to the proper execution of the contract.

The Contractor has the duty to comply and duly execute any work comprised in such Architect’s Instructions.

Click here to see a sample of Architect’s Instructions.



3 Things You Didn’t Know Architects Do #2


From the Employer’s initial brief through to project completion the Architect undertakes a myriad of processes.

Many of the conditions in standard forms of building contract relate to financial matters, and Architects need to have a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of them and be able to apply those conditions properly and in a professional manner.

Contract administration can be quite complex and this (short) post by no means explores all that is involved. We just want to highlight 3 things you (probably) didn’t know architects do when they are appointed for the Construction Stage of your project:

1. Prepare the Building Contract

2. Issue Certificates for Payment to the Contractor

Certification and making decisions are important duties for the Contract Administrator (the Architect). Certification requires the Architect to exercise judgement on various matters arising from the performance of the contract. The Architect has to issue interim certificates stating the amount due to the contractor. This amount shall be the total value of the work duly executed and of materials and goods delivered to site, less an amount to be retained by the Employer. The certificate must be factual and accurate, as the Architect may be personally liable for errors in certification.

The Architect/Contract Administrator typically sends the Certificate to the Contractor. After this the Contractor is entitled to send his invoice together with the Certificate to the Employer. The Employer shall honour the Certificate within 7 working days of the certificate.

3. Issue Instructions to the Contractor


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