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RCR has a dream


In 2017, after having won the Pritzker Prize and about to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of their practice in Olot, the RCR architects proposed to take a step forward and do “something different”. “Why not say it—explains Rafael Aranda at the presentation of their latest project—we wanted to regenerate ourselves”. And decided to start dreaming. Their “dream” is still somewhat unfocused and formless, but it already has a place: La Vila, a country estate situated in the Vall de Bianya valley in Gerona, which they acquired at the time in order to transform it into the space for their most personal concerns. “We had the feeling that we were lacking something”, says Vilalta, and this, adds Aranda, “is what is now getting us excited to continue on our journey”.

Since 2013 RCR has the Bunka Foundation, an institution devoted, among other aims, to disseminating architecture. And now they will have another line of action, focused on research, which already has its own space in this estate with a country house, a mill, farmlands and an expanse of forest. “We were looking—explains Vilalta—for a space of freedom in which we could investigate every useless thing we could imagine. The most useless stuff. And that was the ambition behind buying the estate. We want to fly, and we feel that to do this we have to root ourselves even more deeply into this place”.

The project is still in an initial stage, but the principles of action are already clear. It is a question of listening to the spirit of the place, of recognising what already exists and of “adding a new layer, that of our passage through here. A layer that can last beyond ourselves”, explains Ramon Vilalta. And while RCR’s dream is without a doubt rooted in a physical place, the truth is that, paradoxically (or perhaps not, given the dream-like character of the project), it will have a starting point far distant from the region of La Garrotxa. One of the earliest manifestations of this dream will take place at the Venice Biennale, hand in hand with Institut Ramon Llull. Part of the “collateral events” of this great architecture showcase, the Catalan participation this year 2018 will be structured around the RCR projects through an exhibition and a parallel programme curated by the journalist Pati Núñez and the architect Estel Ortega. The installation will consist of two parts. In the first one, called “threshold”, the project aims to start creating a feeling of dematerialisation while showing fragments of RCR’s past production. Then, in the “dream”, the core of the proposal, a set of Fresnel lenses configure a dream-like landscape of reflections and evocations through sinuous shapes and bright flashes. A landscape in which views of the La Vila project are embedded without a chronological or evident order, because it is the visitors who gradually build their own dream as they move through the created space. “Materialising an idea that is actually based on dematerialisation represented a considerable technical challenge”, explains the co-curator Estel Ortega.

The parallel programme, “New formats: dream and nature”, will consist of two parts: a series of conferences and debates on RCR’s work and the result of a programme with eight Catalan architecture schools revolving around the question of “What do we learn from nature?”. A screen integrated into the exhibition will successively show the answers given by the schools.

Led by the Catalan proposal for the Venice Biennale 2018, RCR is inviting society to participate in its dream. It is with good reason that this is a utopia under construction, according to the architects. “The villa is a shadow that moves through the mist”. After all, everything is allowed in dreams.


Cr. Marià Vayreda, 23
17800 Olot, Girona. Spain



Avinguda Diagonal, 373
08008 Barcelona. Spain

T/ +34 934 678 000

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