Opinion  People 

RCR, Romanticism Confronts Rigor

Luis Fernández-Galiano 

The architecture of RCR (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramón Vilalta) combines romantic rauxa with rational rigor. Based in Olot, the capital of La Garrotxa – a Pre-Pyrenean region in Catalonia, filled with extinct volcanoes and pleasant landscapes that have attracted painters, origin of its ancient industry of religious imagery – in no more than two decades they have built in their area a crop of works with a unique language that combines the romantic desire to blend with nature and to seek the sublime through extreme relinquishment, with the rational determination of geometric rigor, abstract composition and constructive refinement, with details that bring together violently tactile materials. It is an architecture at the same time essential and eloquent, reductive as corresponds to what popular language calls minimalism, and at once expansive in its horizontal dialogue with the landscape, that is framed or perforated with resolve. Julius Posener used to say about his master Hans Poelzig that he scorned “any architecture that could not be drawn with pee in the snow”, and those of RCR are created with the same expressive economy, which goes from the brushstrokes of the first watercolor – abridged like an ideogram – to the physical intervention of the architects in the shaping of land, the assembly of basaltic blocks or the curling of steel bands, in an ‘action architecture’ that is summed up in gestures...[+]

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