From Olot to the World

Josep Maria Montaner 

A portion of the works designed by RCR Arquitectes – Rafael Aranda (1961), Carme Pigem (1962) and Ramon Vilalta (1960), based in Olot – over the last twenty-five years are located in France and Belgium. The working method and characteristics of RCR’s oeuvre fit in well with the ways of doing architecture in these two countries, where they have won competitions and already have clients and a partner studio, Artotec of Bordeaux, with whom they have established RCR ARTOTEC.

This last period is also marked by the work carried out at the old Barberí foundry in Olot. Purchased in 2004, since 2008 it has undergone a phased conversion into the laboratory RCR needed, with spaces where the three directors can concentrate and the team can work comfortably, along with other areas for meetings with clients, visitors and collaborators, for workshops and activities of the RCR Bunka Foundation, or for storage and display of models and prototypes. The space is devised as a platform for exchange, enrichment and belonging, which spreads throughout the geography with the works and agents involved. RCR has gradually adjusted the characteristics of each space to meet the demands of activities they know well, resorting to three basic figures: a cube for their own office, where the stone wall has been preserved and which opens up to the exterior by way of a large window; an elongated prism for the team of collaborators, facing the plant-filled interior courtyard; and an autonomous glass prism where they discuss projects and models, and that is a sort of tea pavilion surrounded by the bare walls of the industrial ruins. This studio in a factory emphasizes the primary relationship with matter and manufacture; it is a space for reflection and invention filled with the inspiration a historical building offers, with its light, textures and plants, a small monastery for study, for activities and for shared creation... 

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