Architecture's highest honor goes to Catalan trio

In a surprising choice that also seems a pointed response to globalization and the contemporary political climate — last year’s Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump in particular — three architects from the Catalonia region of Spain have been named the joint winners of the 2017 Pritzker Prize.

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, who founded the firm RCR Arquitectes in 1988 in their hometown of Olot, Spain, about 70 miles north of Barcelona, were hailed by the Pritzker jury for an “approach that creates buildings and places that are both local and universal at the same time.”

Their buildings, which include schools, houses and a winery in Catalonia as well as an increasing number of commissions elsewhere in Europe, are known for a close integration with the surrounding landscape and a deft combination of stone and brick with more modern materials like glass and weathered steel.

Notably, the jury citation points out, the RCR founders, who are in their mid-50s, have resisted “the call of the metropolis in favor of remaining closely connected to their roots.”

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