When the Catalan architectural practice, RCR Arquitectes was conferred the Pritzker Prize in 2017 back in Barcelona, Andrea Stinga conceived the idea of ‘My First Pritzker’. An architect and motion designer, she drew from this revolutionary win a refreshingly new approach to learning about the architecture of great designers.
“I thought about summarizing all the winners of this reputable prize into a short, fun and clear video,” recalls Stinga, founder of Ombu Architecture. The project presents a series of selected iconic and easy to recognise buildings from around the world designed by each of the 41 winners of the annual Pritzker Prize. In order to understand the geometry of her selection, Stinga took reference from their visuals, axonometric drawings, floor plans and frontal views and developed sketches before representing them in three dimensions. By creating balanced proportions of form, texture, pattern and colour, the resultant wooden toys emerge in an almost meditative visual dynamism that speaks for itself.
“One of the most important things,” she says, “was to make it simple so that it can be understood by everybody and not just architects.” Thus, the miniature versions were cut in wood to make a ‘child’s game’ - where complex compositions are created as simplified objects. The pieces were then translated into a digitally animated sequence that travels through all the years of exemplary architectural history. Seguing along a brisk melody, the animation reveals one work after the other in a chronological narration, opening in 1979 with Philip Johnson’s AT&T Headquarters in New York and ending in 2018 with B V Doshi’s Sangath Studio in Ahmedabad.
The journey between the idea and its manifestation led Stinga through an exhaustive research to an elaborate design process. Tracing her steps back, she says, “In the research, I became acquainted with incredible architects and their awesome works,” of which she fondly recalls the Vanna Venturi House by Robert Venturi, Church of Light by Tadao Ando and Everson Museum of Art by I.M.Pei among others. On the other hand, some of the most challenging pieces include the Opera House in Sydney by Jørn Utzon and the famous Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry.
The idea of this entire project resonates true with Stinga’s own philosophy – finding simple, clean and fun solutions through animation to explain the beautiful complexity of architecture. She signs off with this message, “This [My First Pritzker] is a very valuable tool for information that I feel any architect or architectural student should know.”
We now only wait to see if she would craft Arata Isozaki’s, the 2019 Pritzker Prize laureate, works to add to her series.
(This article was first published in Issue #20 of mondo*arc india journal – an initiative by STIR.)