2010 HONORARY FELLOWSHIP
The AIA Honorary Fellowship program was developed as the international counterpart to the Fellowship program. Election to honorary fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of the foreign architect as an individual, but also elevates before the international public and the profession a model architect who has made a significant contribution to architecture and society on an international level.
An architect of esteemed character and distinguished achievements who is neither a U.S. citizen nor a resident of the United States and who does not primarily practice architecture within the domain of the Institute may be admitted to honorary fellowship.
Carme Pigem Barcelo, Hon. FAIA, received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 1987 from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura del Vallès (ETSAV).
In the Northeast corner of Spain, close to the French border there is the small county of La Garrotxa, bordered to the north by the Pyrenees. Its capital, Olot, is the birthplace of Carme. Surrounded by dormant volcanoes, this place is where she has made her practice for the last twenty years as principal and co-founder of RCR Arquitectes with her two partners, Rafael Aranda Quiles and Ramon Vilalta Pujol (both of whom also received Honorary Fellowship this year). It is where the majority of their work has been built, tied close to her birthplace and close to the earth. It is the land and this place which gives strong influence to a powerful oeuvre, sometimes raw and organic, at other times tight and pristine – a counterpoint to the wild landscape that surrounds it.
The work of Carme and RCR offers a balance between a profound knowledge of the sites with timeless solutions. The void serves as a catalyst for the space and the use of materials are honestly presented from the initial concept to the very last detail. Believing in a vision which allows common work and shared creativity is the force behind the success of RCR. An example of one such project is the House for a Carpenter in Olot, which was a 2009 Finalist work IX Edición Premios Saloni de Arquitectura. The work is described as “the spatial richness of a multi-story home with exceptional views, set on the steep slope of a volcano, cannot just derive from the fluid relationship of the two-dimension structure of the space. A considerable part of its richness is established in relation to its three-dimensional structure, the panorama, or in connection with the slope. The void is identified and becomes as a spatial and essential part of the house and its allotment. The largest possible amount of land is reserved for the enjoyment of a garden or a forest where the urban-natural divisions disappear. Shelter by, amidst, through, and under all appears and disappears, but it is also exchanged with the domain of the pleasant view of a distant world that spreads out at its feet.”
Her sponsor for Honorary Fellowship, Anne Schopf, FAIA, describes Carme’s work as “…breath-taking. The attention to detail, materiality, and composition is tireless. It is at once new and ancient.” In addition to their active practice, Carme continues to invest in the next generation of architects by teaching at ETSAV and at the ETHZ in Zurich. As a prominent teacher, “Pigem Barcelo provides a critical link between the innovations of the urban academy and the deeply-rooted, vibrant culture of rural Spain,” recalls Terence Riley, director of the Miami Art Museum, in his letter of recommendation.
Henry Alexander Jr., FAIA
Jeffrey A. Huberman, FAIA
Allan W. Kehrt, FAIA
Michael Lischer, FAIA
Paula J. Loomis, FAIA
Robert Loversidge, FAIA
Gregory S. Palermo, FAIA
Jim W. Sealy, FAIA