By Nora Vasconcelos
Last Wednesday, architects Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta received the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the highest honor in the field, and it is very interesting to see, through several photos of their work, how they’ve managed to develop designs that might seem simple but that in fact get a great deal of complexity as they manage to blend with their surroundings, adding to the landcapes colors, lines, spaces and volumes that invite people to interact with them.
These three architects founded their firm RCR in Catalonia, Spain, in 1988. “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”, as Tom Pritzker said.
Mr. Pritzker is the Chairman of Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award.
The locally-based architects, adds the press release by the Pritzker Foundation, evoke universal identity through their creative and extensive use of modern materials including recycled steel and plastic.
“They’ve demonstrated that unity of a material can lend such incredible strength and simplicity to a building,” says Glenn Murcutt, Jury Chair. “The collaboration of these three architects produces uncompromising architecture of a poetic level, representing timeless work that reflects great respect for the past, while projecting clarity that is of the present and the future.”
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.”
By Nora Vasconcelos
Weekends in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, are extraordinary. This colorful city, located in the State of Guanajuato, has achieved international recognition thanks to its beautiful architecture and quiet life that inspires artists from all around the world and gives a peaceful haven to foreign retirees who have made of this place their home away from home.
But when Saturdays and Sundays come, many visitors come along to join the creative and entertaining spirit that floods the city in a way that is not easy to find anywhere else.
This unique place is also a very demanded venue for weddings, so national and international couples who have fallen in love with San Miguel, book months (many months) in advance a place for their ceremony which, unlike any others, some times includes the religious ceremony at the magnificent San Miguel de Allende Parish, as well as a vibrant display of arts, crafts and traditions.
With not many people expecting it, a local band starts playing music, and two very tall dolls, depicting the bride and the groom, appear in the main plaza, causing the surprise and admiration of everybody around.
Then, the two figures approach the Parish dancing in a way that make easy for the people watching understand the story they want to tell with their dances.
Discretely, they look at each other before entering the atrium of the church, like stealing a mischievous glance that shows the loving complicity of the couple.
Then, they dance all their way to the main entrance , facing the public that stands at each side of the atrium with amazement and enjoyment.
Before the enter the parish, the couple give one last glance to their audience, taking care of not facing each other.
Minutes later, when some more dances have taken place, the happy newly weds finally get together, face to face, to start their new life as husband and wife, with all the cheers of the people who have enjoy a unique event, right before the “big event”, that is the actual wedding.