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Critical Round-Up: The 2017 Pritzker Prize

Courtesy of Pritzker Prize. Image © Hisao Suzuki
Courtesy of Pritzker Prize. Image © Hisao Suzuki

The 2017 Pritzker Prize was a surprise to many, awarded to the three founders of RCR Arquitectes, a modest Spanish firm located in the small town of Olot in Catalonia. Many people and critics shared their astonishment at the prize being awarded to three individuals for the first time since the Pritzker Prize began in 1979, including the third female winner, and at the relatively low profile of RCR Arquitectes before March 1st.

Whether this surprise was pleasant or shocking differs from critic to critic, but there nevertheless seems to be a consensus on the jury’s decision to venture further into politics and away from their traditional interest in celebrity architects. As clearly stated in the jury’s citation: “In this day and age, there is an important question that people all over the world are asking, and it is not just about architecture; it is about law, politics, and government as well.” Are they steering the prize in the right, or wrong, direction?

Courtesy of Pritzker Prize. Image © Hisao SuzukiCourtesy of Pritzker Prize. Image © Hisao SuzukiCourtesy of Pritzker Prize. Image © Hisao Suzuki© Eugeni Pons+ 21

Lemay Wins Casablanca Coast Redesign Bid

Quebec-based practice Lemay has won the global bid to redesign Morocco’s Casablanca Coast, which will include the new seaside promenade of the Hassan II Mosque and the Ain Diab corniche.

With modernity, sustainability, and innovation in mind, the urban and landscape design will promote mobility along the length of the corniche (a coastal, cliffside road) and aims to reinforce the appeal of the coast.

Launched in December, the project will feature an urban park and corniche along the El Hank embankment that will include rest areas, walkways, outdoor sports, and more. As an extension of the Hassan II Mosque, the promenade is expected to become a new Moroccan landmark.

Courtesy of v2com. © LemayCourtesy of v2com. © LemayCourtesy of v2com. © LemayCourtesy of v2com. © Lemay+ 13

These Beautiful Architectural Sketches Show Hand-Drawing is Alive and Well

Despite the rush of new technologies available to architects to express their designs, the humble art of hand-drawing is still alive and well. And when sketching are drafting are done well enough, they can become their own artifacts for inspiring architectural thought.

The work of architecture student Adelina Gareeva is one such example. Studying at Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering (KSUAE) in Russia, Gareeva produces incredibly detailed architectural drawings, from carefully constructed perspective drawings of St. Basil’s Cathedral, to travel sketches to more abstract architectural compositions that draw similarities to Zaha Hadid’s Suprematist paintings or the Cubist works of Georges Braques. Check out some of her best sketches below.

RCR Arquitectes' Sant Antoni - Joan Oliver Library, Photographed by Pedro Kok

Following the announcement on Wednesday of the winners of the 2017 Pritzker Prize, which was awarded to architects Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes, architectural photographer Pedro Kok has shared with us a series of photographs of the Sant Antoni - Joan Oliver Library, located in Barcelona, Spain.

As with many of the Catalan trio's work, the library stands out for its materiality and careful construction, making intense use of transparency and light.

Sant Antoni - Joan Oliver Library / RCR Arquitectes. Image © Pedro KokSant Antoni - Joan Oliver Library / RCR Arquitectes. Image © Pedro KokSant Antoni - Joan Oliver Library / RCR Arquitectes. Image © Pedro KokSant Antoni - Joan Oliver Library / RCR Arquitectes. Image © Pedro Kok+ 10

Mexican Architects Gabriela Carrillo and Rozana Montiel Win AR's 2017 Women in Architecture Awards

The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal have announced two Mexican architects as winners of their 2017 “Women in Architecture” Awards. This year’s Architect of the Year is awarded to Gabriela Carrillo of Taller Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo, while Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura’s Rozana Montiel was named the winner of the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture. Both women were selecting for demonstrating “excellence in design and a commitment to working both sustainably and democratically with local communities.”

Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura, Veracruz Cancha, San Pablo Xalpa Unidad Habitacional y Casa Tepoztlan, México. Image Courtesy of Rozana MontielGabriela Carrillo,Taller de Arquitectura Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo, Juzgados en Pátzcuaro, México. Image © Onnis LuqueRozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura, Veracruz Cancha, San Pablo Xalpa Unidad Habitacional y Casa Tepoztlan, México. Image Courtesy of Rozana MontielGabriela Carrillo,Taller de Arquitectura Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo, Juzgados en Pátzcuaro, México. Image © Onnis Luque+ 19

A Virtual Look Inside the Case study house #12 by Whitney R Smith

In designing his (unbuilt) house for the Arts & Architecture Case Study program, Whitney Smith, like Richard Neutra, prioritized the connection to outdoor space. His motivation, however, was more specific than a desire to extend the living area of a small house. Rather, he wanted to create a highly personal space, geared to the passion of his hypothetical client. Seeing conventional plans as a straitjacket for residents who craved appropriate working space within their home (be it a sewing studio or a photography darkroom), he aspired to fit this house to the needs of a keen horticulturist.

New Map Celebrates Paris’ Brutalist Architecture

Adding to its regular releases of city guide maps, London-based publisher Blue Crow Media has now produced the Brutalist Paris Map, in collaboration with Nigel Green and Robin Wilson of Photolanguage. Having previously covered Washington D.C.’s most prominent Brutalist buildings, the latest map highlights over 40 Parisian examples of Brutalist architecture.

Bourse by Travail. Image © Nigel GreenCourtesy of Blue Crow MediaCourtesy of Blue Crow MediaLes Damiers. Image © Nigel Green+ 10

Manufacturing Utopia - How Assemble is Creating a Model Factory at A/D/O

London-based architecture collective Assemble is set to transform an outdoor courtyard at A/D/O in Brooklyn into a ‘model factory’ to explore utopian ideals of work. The Turner Prize-winning architects will use their first site-specific installation in the U.S. entitled ‘A Factory As It Might Be’ to depict a vision of how society should build and function using abundant, malleable materials.

The factory workshop contains a clay extruder and electric kiln. Image Courtesy of Sam NixonShelving will be added to allow for object display. Image Courtesy of Sam NixonA range of objects can be produced from the factory to enhance the A/D/O courtyard. Image Courtesy of Sam NixonAssemble have instructed the A/D/O team in tile production. Image Courtesy of Sam Nixon+ 15

Santiago Calatrava on Ground Zero, Design Philosophy and the Greenwich Peninsula Project

Earlier this month, Hong Kong-owned developer Knight Dragon revealed plans for an billion-dollar urban-development scheme that will completely transform London’s Greenwich Peninsula. In this edition of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, the team speak to Santiago Calatrava—who will be designing the core of this grand new project—about this and his public-spirited design philosophy. Why, they ask, has he’s always wanted to leave a mark on the "Big Smoke?"

Herzog & de Meuron's West Village Condo Building Takes Shape In New York

Construction on Herzog & de Meuron’s 160 Leroy condominium tower in New York’s West Village has nearly topped out, with 12 of its planned 15 floors now complete. The design, inspired by the great Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, features a curved concrete and glass facade and contains 57 luxury condos ranging in price from $3.1 to $48.5 million.

Herzog & de Meuron's West Village Condo Building Takes Shape In New Yorkvia Field Conditionvia Field Condition© DBOX+ 4

UNStudio Wins Competition for Landmark Mixed-Use Development in Frankfurt

The four towers will reach a maximum height of 228 meters (748 feet). Image Courtesy of UNStudio
The four towers will reach a maximum height of 228 meters (748 feet). Image Courtesy of UNStudio

UNStudio has been selected as the winners of an international competition to design a new mixed-use development on the site of the former Deutsche Bank offices in Frankfurt, Germany. Selected to complete the urban strategy for the district last March, UNStudio has now been unanimously selected to carry out the architectural redevelopment of the site, beating out third prize proposals from the teams of Dudler / Jahn and MSW / Snøhetta, and an honorable mention from Christoph Mäckler / CoopHimmelblau.

The new mixed-use development will consist of four high-rise towers ascending from a multi-story plinth in the heart of the city. The project includes space for retail, restaurants and hotels, as well as a full range of residential accommodation. The four towers, rising up to 228 meters (748 feet) high, will serve as a new landmark on the Frankfurt skyline.

With the Jarahieh Refugee School, CatalyticAction Demonstrates the True Potential Of Temporary Structures

The 2015 Milan Expo required the input of more than 145 countries and 50 international organizations resulting in over 70 temporary pavilions; a combined effort totaling more than €13 billion. Norman Foster’s rippling pavilion for the United Arab Emirates ended up at €60 million. The massive slab of concrete, laid out over the previously green agricultural land to act as the Expo’s foundation cost a whopping €224 million. Even Vietnam’s “low cost” pavilion came in at $2.09 million.

Compare that with, for example, IKEA’s proposal for a temporary refugee shelter that can house 5, costing just $1000, and one can see the absurdity of spending gargantuan sums on buildings that will perhaps be sold to be used later as a clubhouse, or to a museum as another temporary cultural center. Where is the architectural action behind an architectural event that boasts “Energy for Life” or “Better City, Better Life” - the slogan of the Shanghai 2010 Expo - yet spends extraordinary amounts of resources on structures that provide little sustainable development to parts of the world that are actually in dire need of it?

Courtesy of CatalyticActionCourtesy of CatalyticActionCourtesy of CatalyticActionCourtesy of CatalyticAction+ 37

This Campaign Envisions a Three-Storey Lightning Bolt in Honour of David Bowie

A year since the passing of David Bowie, one of music and pop culture’s greatest icons, fans have launched a fundraising campaign to support the erection of a permanent memorial statue in London, in honor of the late musician.

“We’re taking the lightning flash from the cover of Aladdin Sane, and turning it into a three-storey tall sculpture,” explains Charlie Waterhouse of This Ain’t Rock ‘n’ Roll, one of the organizations behind the campaign, working in conjunction with David Bowie’s team.

Twice as Nice? Suzhou's Latest Architectural Homage Copies London's "Tower Bridge"

It's common knowledge that China has "at least 10 White Houses, four Arcs de Triomphe, a couple of Great Sphinxes and at least one Eiffel Tower," report the New York Times. But now photographs of a copy of London’s famous Tower Bridge (a Victorian riparian gateway to the city) in the Chinese city of Suzhou have emerged – and it's been adapted to suit a five-lane highway. Almost identical—from a distance, at least—to its British counterpart the new structure, which was completed in 2012, has been doubled – a feat which has also required some spectacular architectural additions.

Studioshaw's Competition-Winning Interactive Hub for Dundee

London-based firm Studioshaw has won a competition to design a hub facility for children and young people in Dundee, Scotland. The Interactive Hub will be located on the site of a former railway depot at the Seabraes Yards Digital Media Park. The competition, hosted by the Dundee Institute of Architects (DIA) and Scottish Enterprise, was one of 400 events taking place across Scotland as part of the RIAS 2016 Festival of Architecture.

Flexible studios to aid Dundee's thriving digital creative sector. Image Courtesy of StudioshawThe scheme contains sheltered public space for outdoor digital theatre and drone races. Image Courtesy of StudioshawThe proposal forms part of a masterplan to regenerate Seabraes Yards. Image Courtesy of StudioshawThe scheme contains sheltered public space for outdoor digital theatre and drone races. Image Courtesy of Studioshaw+ 6

2017 Pritzker Prize Winners RCR Arquitectes' Work in 20 Images

Courtesy of Pritzker Prize. Image © Hisao Suzuki
Courtesy of Pritzker Prize. Image © Hisao Suzuki

Today, Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta were named the laureates of the 2017 Pritzker Prize, becoming the first trio of architects to be bestowed the profession’s highest accolade. Working together since 1988 as RCR Arquitectes, the team has tackled a wide range of project types, from libraries to wineries to park designs – many of which are located in their home region of Catalonia, Spain. Continue to see 20 images from their work that exemplify the firm’s outstanding attention to detail and considered use of materiality.

New Renderings Revealed of Google's Mountain View Campus

New images of BIG and Heatherwick Studio’s proposed Google campus in Mountain View California have been revealed in planning documents presented to the city last month. Initially announced in 2015, the project has seen several revisions after first running into difficulty with the city planning board, and then after swapping sites with fellow tech giant LinkedIn. The latest iteration, the 18.6-acre Charleston East campus, features a 2-story, 595,000-square-foot building topped with a flowing, tent-like canopy.

Courtesy of City of Mountain ViewCourtesy of City of Mountain ViewCourtesy of City of Mountain ViewCourtesy of City of Mountain View+ 14

Jean Nouvel, Foster + Partners Among 7 Architects to Design Towers for Paris' La Défense District

The La Défense district of Paris has announced the proposal of seven new skyscrapers by top architects including Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Foster + Partners and Christian de Portzamparc in an attempt to lure business to the city during a time of economic upheaval in the European markets.

All planned for completion no later than 2022, the new buildings would target international businessmen and researchers, especially those displaced following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

Who Are RCR Arquitectes? 9 Things to Know About the New Pritzker Prize Winners

Today, the Pritzker announced Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, the three founders of Catalan firm RCR Arquitectes, as the recipients of the 2017 Pritzker Prize. As designers of an architecture that is both stylistically and physically local—RCR Arquitectes’ work is mostly found in Catalonia, although recent projects have taken them to France and Belgium—the firm has established a strong profile in north-eastern Spain and a cult following among academic circles around the world. However, other members of the architectural community might find themselves forced to reach for the nearest search engine. For those people, the following 9 facts will provide the information you need to understand architecture’s newest Pritzker Prize laureates.

La Lira Theater Public Open Space (2011). Image © Hisao Suzuki courtesy of the Pritzker PrizeSoulages Museum (2014). Image © Hisao Suzuki courtesy of the Pritzker PrizeBell–Lloc Winery (2007). Image © Hisao Suzuki courtesy of the Pritzker PrizeBarberí Laboratory (2008). Image © Hisao Suzuki courtesy of the Pritzker Prize+ 11

Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes Speaks of Pritzker Win and Post-Prize Ambitions

Two days ago ArchDaily had the distinct honor to interview Ramon Vilalta, one of the three architects named as 2017 Pritzker Laureates. Vilalta gave us an exclusive insight into history behind his collaboration with Rafael Aranda and Carme Pigem and how their connection to their small hometown of Olot, Spain has influenced a career that has produced exceptional projects by their firm, RCR Arquitectes.

ArchDaily: How did your studio/practice begin? Why did you start quickly after graduating?

Ramon Vilalta: In that sense we were very disciplined people. We finished our degrees quickly and once we were finished we decided to share a studio; we chose to confront architecture by sharing it, and by really sharing it. We each have different personalities – each one has his or her own style but what comes from the chemistry between the three of us makes us special, I think. This was, I feel, a big decision that wasn’t easy at the time.

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta Named 2017 Pritzker Prize Laureates

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta have been named as the laureates of the 2017 Pritzker Prize. Their projects emphasize materiality and craft – considered use of color, transparency (and thereby light) define an oeuvre which ranges from public buildings to houses, a kindergarten and a winery.

The three architects—all of whom are Spanish Catalan and originate from Olot, Girona (where they are all presently based)—have worked collaboratively together as RCR Arquitectes since 1988; they simultaneously graduated in Architecture from ETSAV, the School of Architecture in Valles (Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura del Vallès) a year prior. This 39th incarnation of the Prize represents the first instance in which three architects have been recognized at once, and only the second time—following Rafael Moneo in 1996—that Spanish practitioners have been honored.

Denver Art Museum Receives $12 Million to Revitalize Ponti North Building

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) has announced that a $12 million gift from Anna and John J. Sie will support the construction of a new welcome center at the museum’s Gio Ponti-designed North Building.

Paying homage to the shapes and volumes of the existing building, the new construction—by Machado Silvetti and Fentress Architects—aims to enhance the museum campus’ connection to the Golden Triangle neighborhood, as well as to improve visitor navigation and amenities.

Denver Art Museum North Building entryway and welcome desk. 1971. Image © Wayne ThomDenver Art Museum North Building constructed by Italian architect Gio Ponti. 1971. Image © Wayne ThomProposed North Building Project Model 2016. Jason A. Knowles. Image © Fentress ArchitectsProposed architectural rendering of North Building from the Cultural Center Complex Garage. Image Courtesy of Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti+ 25

The Story of the 1960s Mass-Produced Modular Design That Actually Went into Production

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Enduring Lives of Saša Machtig's Modular Creations."

Even in relative old age, the Kiosk K67—a shape-shifting system of modular fiberglass structures—keeps active. A kiosk in Kromberk, Slovenia, in the former Yugoslavia has become a beehive. Another, used by a Bosnia and Herzegovina food vendor, has received a masonry addition. In Ljubljana, a kiosk that formerly sheltered parking lot attendants now supports an automated ticket machine.

These may not have been adaptations the Slovenian designer Saša J. Mächtig had in mind when he first conceived the K67 50 years ago. But accounting for all of them would have been impossible. In theory, the system permitted unlimited configurations and variations. By the time production stopped in 1999, around 7,500 units of the K67 had been manufactured. While most remained in Yugoslavia, some were exported abroad—among other places, to Poland, Japan, New Zealand, Kenya, Iraq, the former Soviet Union, and the United States. Around the world, they were adapted to uses ranging from border patrol stations and ski lift ticket booths to retail and fast-food stands. No one is really sure how many are still in use today, or what other kinds of folksy, improvised alterations have been made to them, but among the greatest pleasures of the kiosks is their endless capacity to surprise. The K67, a recent retrospective of Mächtig’s work at the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana managed to restore its original brilliance. And it did so without suppressing the deviations. As the show’s curator Maja Vardjan writes in her catalogue essay, what distinguishes the K67 is “its position between architecture and industrial design, embeddedness in the framework of a modern city and society, the rituals of daily life, and, last but not least, its persistent capacity to reinvent itself.” While the visionary architectural schemes of the 1960s and 1970s may inspire wistful longing (What could have been!), the K67 kiosks, even as they disappear from view, provoke a question: Why have they persisted for so long?

3 Success Stories Show How to Apply Road Safety Through Public Health Plans

Vision Zero is an initiative that started in Sweden in 1997 when the country began implementing a series of road safety measures to reach their goal of zero deaths from traffic accidents. As a result, the country managed to reduce the number of deaths to 3 people per 100 thousand inhabitants.

Since then the plan has been adopted by different cities and has inspired the creation of various organizations that are looking to make our streets a safer places. One of them being the Vision Zero Network that brings together traffic engineers, health professionals, local leaders, and policy makers.

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