For Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta, design is a deeply communal practice. Not only do the three Spanish architects share a firm, RCR Arquitectes, they also share a single desk. “One draws a line, and another adds on,” says Pigem. It’s through this collective, iterative process that their masterful works come into being: a museum wrought in weathered steel, a translucent banquet hall punctuated by tree trunks, a kindergarten that evokes a box of colored pencils.
Now Aranda, Pigem, and Vilalta also share the 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize. It is the first time the award has been bestowed upon three laureates in 38 years; only twice has it been given to two partners, not a solo architect. The three partners of RCR will share $100,000 and the Prize’s signature bronze medallion, based on the designs of Louis Sullivan, at a ceremony at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo on May 20.