RCR Arquitectes Take Catalonia To Venice With Vision Of Dream and Nature

RCR Arquitectes

The Award-winning trio RCR Arquitectes are set to summon their vision through 6000 fresnel lenses, in a most intimate and highly sensory experience, at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale

The Institut Ramon Llull has announced RCR. Dream and Nature, a project about the architecture practice RCR Arquitectes, recipients of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2017 – for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, that will run from May 26th to November 25th, 2018. With Dream and Nature, RCR Arquitectes will represent Catalonia at the Biennale Architettura 2018 as Collateral Event. The project is curated by journalist Pati Nunez and architect Estel Ortega along with RCR Arquitectes and reveals an unknown side of Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta: their most intimate universe. The three architects have created a space to research and rethink man’s relationship to the world, located in the La Vila estate in the Bianya Valley (Girona), and it’s in this landscape that their project for 16th International Architecture Exhibition is based.

“In Venice, we will present our dream, unknown and unpublished up until now.”

“It’s a key moment in the development of this project, and it’s through architecture that the birth of a utopia under construction, that unveils our interior world, is being represented.” The intention is that “those who visit the space at the Biennale will feel an immense draw to get to know La Vila and to perceive the force of nature, a force that can change you. Our aim is that entering into The Dream becomes a highly sensorial experience.” – RCR Arquitectes:

Pati Nunez, co-curator of the project, explains, “We’re suggesting experimenting with new formats applied to the dissemination of architecture. There are no models or blueprints at the exhibition. The dream in the title refers to the most intimate side of Rafael, Carme and Ramon because their way of understanding the world is what forms the basis of their architecture.”

Estel Ortega the co-curator reaffirms that “the museography is intentional; it’s part of the project, and its trajectory is not linear. The idea is to provoke the feeling of being inside a dream. You could say it’s like a cave of lights and liquid movement, an immaterial space that allows each person to construct their own unique experience, just like in a dream.”

RCR Arquitectes La Vila - Hisao Suzuki
RCR Arquitectes La Vila – Hisao Suzuki

To access a secret, an ambiguous place, and before getting to the dream, you must first cross over an initial phase: the Threshold. This is to give the visitor the feeling of entering little by little into a dematerialised space where they don’t know exactly where they are, as if falling into a light sleep. Dream and Nature sets out from an intermediary and dynamic space, where the content refers back to RCR’s previous work, and it constitutes a presentation and a summary of their trajectory so far. Moving further through the space, the Dream arrives: a more profound state of sleep is evoked. A cave of lights and movement, with a fragmented and mysterious spatial conception, where material from the La Vila project is presented exclusively. La Vila is understood as a destination, an unfinished construction and a life’s work. This interpretation of RCR’s intimate world, its strength and sensuality, is taken to the extreme so that the visitor can move as they like through the space and create their own unique experience. These philosophical concepts the architects define as their Geography of Dreams, and present them through 6000 fresnel lenses that distort reality, that both reflect and fragment the world, which bring you closer and yet further away, in a game that confuses, surprises, envelops, and, lastly, compels the visitor to reflect. It is RCR’s intention to bring the La Vila experience to Venice – an utopia under construction, so that its mark is imprinted onto everyone.

The project is accompanied by a parallel program, NEW FORMATS: DREAM AND NATURE, with the aim to offer other visions of the RCR universe from people and practices that act as filters and that bring in other points of view, and to involve the largest number of people. This program consists in two projects: a series of talks and a university program in which eight schools in Catalonia have sent proposals that respond to a question raised by the curators: What do we learn from Nature? Five proposals from each participating school have been chosen and will be on display on the exhibition screen. The participating schools are: BAU, Elisava, La Salle (Ramon Llull University), ETSA Barcelona (Polytechnic University of Catalonia), ETSA Vallès (UPC), University of Girona, School of Architecture (International University of Catalonia), and the Rovira Virgili University. Furthermore, three talks have been scheduled on May 24th and 25th in Venice:

On May 24th, Creating Knowledge. New Ways of Communicating ART and ARCHITECTURE, with Eva Franch (director of the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York and the new director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London), and Pedro Gadanho (director of MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) in Lisbon, and moderated by Pati Nunez.

On May 25th, Architecture Criticism, with Glenn Murcutt (Founder of the Architecture Foundation Australia, and recipient of the Pritzker Award of Architecture in 2002), Juhani Pallasmaa (Finnish architect, honorable member of the SAFA, AIA and RIBA), and William J.R. Curtis (famous, award-winning architectural historian), and presented by Estel Ortega; and the closing conference, RCR. Dream and Nature, presented by William J.R. Curtis and RCR Architects. The parallel activities will take place at the warehouse adjacent to Cantieri Navali. They will be open to the public and can be streamed live from the Architect’s Association of Catalonia (COAC) headquarters in Barcelona.

Top Photo: Portrait of RCR Arquitectes by Hisao Suzuki.

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