Pritzker Prize for RCR Arquitectes – Wonderful and Sad News

I have been involved with cutting-edge design from the very start of my career in architecture, but to me, the saddest thing is that we have not evolved.

Sustainable ArchitectureRCR Arquitectes recently received the Pritzker Prize. The firm is a remarkable manifestation of artistic and material excellence, very much like Tadao Ando with his Alvar Aalto and Pritzker prizes many years ago.

I live in a world where the United States alone wastes a trillion dollars a year in energy. I have not seen one single program – even in our Ivy League schools – where students are guided to understand the principles of the global responsibility.

Today, there is NO NEED to design a building that wastes energy – NONE. Period.

Buildings that are not energy efficient continue to exist today only because our clients insist on using current codes and standards that protect our energy suppliers’ futures. Energy suppliers sit on our boards and in our meetings to make sure that the code does not hurt their future of WASTE, and thus their stock prices.

I have yet to see one prize, whether it’s the AIA national award in the U.S., or in my home country of birth, Finland, or my adopted interim country, the United Kingdom, where I received the best energy – before it was called green and passive – and design information par none from 1974-77.

If we keep rewarding people like Ando, and all the well-meaning others whose buildings don’t give any regard to energy efficiency and conservation, how am I going to greet my children and say you are going to be OK?

We don’t have many years to go on. We have burnt the atmosphere and oceans beyond the point of a return to normality.


Tapani Talo, AIA