Archive for 2017

Easter joy for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (2017) as the movie surpassed 1-billion dollar in worldwide box office. Also movie review for ‘The Fate of the Furious’ and ‘The Boss Baby’ (2017).

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2017 by vincentloy

First of all, Happy Good Friday and Easter to those who are celebrating! This year’s Easter has been a joyous moment particularly for the movie ‘Beauty and the Beast’ as it has recently grossed over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. This live-action remake of the original 1991 animated movie that starred Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, etc has become the 29th film in history to cross over the 1-billion milestone. The movie has exceeded expectation in the box office and is also gaining positive reception from critics. It is the first 2017 film to cross that mark and soon, there will be another movie this year joining that prestigious list. And that will be ‘The Fate of the Furious’ which is the 8th film in the popular ‘Fast and Furious’ film series. Besides than being currently the highest grossing film of the year, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ also accomplished another record by being the highest grossing live-action musical film ever.

‘The Fate of the Furious’ sees the return of original cast as well as some new members. This movie reminded me again of the death of Paul Walker several years ago, an actor who has been crucial in this film series but died in a car accident. The previous ‘Furious 7’ film concluded with high note and touching ending and is the first of the film series to gain over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. Hence, I’m expecting this 8th film to cross that milestone too. Back to this latest movie. It tells about an arrival of a mysterious woman who seduces Dom (Vin Diesel) into the world of terrorism and a betrayal to those closest to him. The movie starred Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Charlize Theron, Luke Evans, etc.

Similarly to the previous movie, this film delivered with some intense, over the top and exhilarating action scenes in a scale that no one has foreseen. Cars raining down to the street and a huge submarine chasing a group of cars and a tank. This film series started with some humble car racing moments to extensive gun fights and attacks of high proportion we saw in recent movies. It is going big. Despite it is already being the 8th film, I find every film has its refreshing storyline and different outtake on its action sequences. I also noticed that Hollywood takes on this approach to find Oscar-winning cool-looking actresses to portray villain in big-budget movies nowadays. Charlize Theron as the villain in this movie and then soon Cate Blanchett will be the villain in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ which will be coming out end of this year. There are some hilarious parts to balance things out (and also some adorable moments from a baby). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Fate of the Furious’ a total of 7.6.

Recently, I also watched another much relaxing movie called ‘The Boss Baby’. It is an animated movie about a suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby who pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Corporation. It’s funny to see a baby with an adult mindset on a serious mission to stop an evil plot, and he is joined by a brother who wanted him to be out of the family due to diversion of his parents’ attention to the baby. The movie is highly entertaining. Certain flaws and plot-holes in this movie are forgivable too. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Boss Baby’ a total of 7.0.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web) 

36th Hong Kong Film Awards

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2017 by vincentloy

The 36th Hong Kong Film Awards was held last evening to honour the best of Hong Kong films released in 2016. I didn’t pay much attention to this awards this year (and also last year) as I didn’t watch most of the nominated films. Most of their movies nowadays just didn’t appeal to me with similar genre, similar style, similar story, poor visual effects and too depressed. Their movies also fail to break out of their boundary to reach out to international market due to the reasons I highlighted earlier.

The presentation ceremony yesterday has its free online streaming but that service is not available in Australia. Hence, I couldn’t watch it live. Anyway, I still manage to hear part of its live broadcast from Myfm, a Malaysian radio station. It’s a 3 hours and 30 minutes long ceremony. Very interesting poster for the awards ceremony this year (see below):

I’m more excited with the presence of many celebrities in the awards ceremony such as Jackie Chan, Leon Lai, Aaron Kwok, Karl Maka (he is the bald guy in the classic hit film series ‘Aces Go Places’ with Sam Hui), Eric Tsang, Miriam Yeung, (and many other recognizable faces) than the results. Here below is the full list of winners for the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards:

Best film
Trivisa


Best Director
Frank Hui, Jevons Au, Vicky Wong (Trivisa)
Best Actor
Gordon Lam (Trivisa)
Best Actress
Kara Wai ( Happiness )


Best Supporting Actor
Eric Tsang (Mad World)
Best Supporting Actress
Elaine Jin (Mad World)


Best New Performer
Tony Wu (Weeds on Fire)
Best Screenplay
Trivisa
Best Cinematography
Peter Pau, Cao Yu (See You Tomorrow)
Best Film Editing
Allen Leung, David Richardson (Trivisa)
Best Art Direction
See You Tomorrow
Best Sostume and Make-up Design
The Monkey King 2
Best Action Choreography
Operation Mekong
Best Original Film Score
Peter Kam, Yusuke Hatano (Soul Mate)
Best Original Film Song
Anthem of Shatin Martins (Weeds on Fire)
Best Sound Design
Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu-Keung ( Cold War 2 )
Best Visual Effects
The Monkey King 2
Best New Director
Wong Chun (Mad World)
Best Film from China and Taiwan
Godspeed

Overall comment:

‘Trivisa’ is the biggest winner of the ceremony with 5 wins, including the coveted ‘Best Film’ prize. The film also won for best director, best actor, best screenplay and best film editing, taking out most of the important categories. ‘Mermaid’ which has a total of 8 nominations failed to win anything at all in the ceremony. The movie which is a critical box office hit and is directed by Stephen Chow is one of the only two films nominated in this awards that I did watched. The other one is ‘The Monkey King 2’ which won for ‘Best Visual Effects’. Gordon Lam is being nominated for the first time in lead actor category and he won it at the first attempt. Kara Hui also won surprisingly for best actress from her role in ‘Happiness’. This is her third best actress win in history of Hong Kong Film Awards. She has also won a best supporting actress award 3 years ago. She is now the second actress that has won the most best actress awards, only behind the legendary Maggie Cheung who has won it five times in the past. On the other hand, past winners and veterans Eric Tsang and Elaine Jin emerged as winners again this year in supporting actor and actress categories respectively from their roles in ‘Mad World’.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

Return of Gallen Lo in ‘Provocateur’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2017 by vincentloy

Gallen Lo is a famous veteran actor who has starred in many critically successful TVB dramas particularly in 1990s and 2000s. In recent years, he took extensive long break and didn’t shoot any dramas. His last TVB series is 2009’s ‘Born Rich’ (I didn’t watch that). However, I do remember well and admired some of his past iconic and powerful roles in dramas like ‘Golden Faith’, ‘Feminine Masculinity’, ‘Secret of the Heart’, ‘Old Time Buddy’ and ‘At The Threshold Of An Era I & II’. He has won best actor in TVB Anniversary Awards for three times, becoming the actor with most best actor wins in TVB (a record tied with Roger Kwok and Wayne Lai). He is also the first recipient of best actor award in 1997 when TVB started introducing their awards presentation that year.

Now, he returns for a new TVB drama called ‘Provocateur’. I’m watching this drama because he is in it. He portrayed a cosmetic business mogul who encounters various difficulties such as his business challenges, his long lost son who came back to take revenge on him, his declining health, etc. This 25-episodes drama also starred Fred Cheng, Ali Lee, Jacqueline Wong, Jonathan Cheung, Lee Shin Cheung, Raymond Cho, etc. I think this is Fred Cheng’s first leading role in a drama.

I have high expectation from Gallen. He did well on his part but I think his role isn’t anything special. There is not much ways for him to showcase his acting or express his talent. In most of the time, he was just walking around, having his hand on his head while thinking on some business strategies and chatting with the others. I knew sometimes acting is from the very subtle yet powerful facial expression. Gallen did has those moments in this drama but those scenes are too much and it lessen the essence and strength of the outcome. Even the part when he had terminal illness, he also couldn’t perform to the point that it moves me. I also noticed that he is getting really old looking now. Well, he is 55 already. But I do enjoy his involvement in this drama as a senior and his collaboration with many young cast.

I have heard that Fred Cheng actually didn’t get this leading role at the first place. It was supposed to be someone else but due to schedule conflict, the other actor dropped this role and Fred came in. He is not bad in acting but I think he is incapable of taking this important leading role, plus he has to face Gallen most of the time throughout the whole series. He is much better in supporting role. His expressions especially in scenes when he has to show his revengeful face are awkward and appeared ‘forced’. He just can’t balance it and went overboard. His character in this drama is being helped by a group of his friends specialized in pulling off tricks. This reminded me of ‘Burning Hands’ which is released not long ago before this series. In ‘Burning Hands’, we saw Ruco Chan being helped by a group of his friends too. Such a similar idea in both dramas. Fred’s chemistry with his on-screen partner in this drama, Ali Lee is very low too.

Ali Lee has a big year in 2016. She has starred in a lot of dramas last year and she won Most Improved Female Artiste Award in TVB Anniversary Awards 2016. She is good. But his acting in this drama is just very average and a bit wooden at some point. It felt like she is uninterested on this role. On the other hand, Jacqueline Wong who is also a newbie actress contributed a lot of her passion into her role as Gallen’s daughter. Let’s give her more roles. At first, I didn’t have any expectation from her, but after watching this drama and seeing how she develops together with her character, I’m engaged. I have no issue seeing her nominated for Most Improved Female Artist award end of this year.

I’m glad that this drama only has 25 episodes. Not any longer. The plot fits best in this 25 episodes. While I particularly didn’t enjoy some decisions in the storyline, the overall drama is still solid. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Provocateur’ a total of 6.8. It’s a series that will be easily forgotten after a month or two. A ‘cheaper’ version of ‘Burning Hands’ and a plain comeback role from Gallen Lo.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Top 10 Tallest Buildings in the World (as of April 2017)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2017 by vincentloy

The two cities that witness the birth of skyscrapers are Chicago and New York City in United States. That was over a hundred years ago after the introduction of steel framed construction and passenger elevator that enables buildings to be built much taller. Now in 2017, only one building in United States that is placed within the top 10 tallest buildings in the world currently. The other 9 are generally all located in Asia. Here below is the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world as of April 2017. The list only includes completed buildings and does not include television towers, observation towers, masts, antennas or buildings with very little percentage of habitable floors.

  1. Burj Khalifa, 828 metres, 163 floors, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (completed in 2010).

2. Shanghai Tower, 632 metres, 128 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2015).

3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower, 601 metres, 120 floors, Mecca, Saudi Arabia (completed in 2012).

4. Ping An Finance Center, 599 metres, 115 floors, Shenzhen, China (completed in 2017).

5. Lotte World Tower, 555 metres, 123 floors, Seoul, South Korea (completed in 2017).

6. One World Trade Center, 541 metres, 104 floors, New York City, United States (completed in 2014).

7. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, 530 metres, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China (completed in 2016).

8. Taipei 101, 508 metres, 101 floors, Taipei, Taiwan (completed in 2004).

9. Shanghai World Financial Center, 492 metres, 101 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2008).

10. International Commerce Centre, 484 metres, 108 floors, Hong Kong, China (completed in 2010).

This list will change drastically from year to year due to rapid increase of construction of supertall skyscrapers in the world in recent decade. More and more new buildings are reaching further to the sky. Out of the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world, half of them are in China (this doesn’t even include Taipei 101 in Taiwan). 8 of them soar above 500 metres in height respectively too. Also noted is that every buildings in this top 10 tallest list has over 100 floors respectively. The tallest in the world, Burj Khalifa has been on the top of the list for over 7 years now. By 2020, it is expected to be defeated by Kingdom Tower, a skyscraper currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That tower is projected to soar above 1000 metres (1 km!) when completed in 2020.

The oldest supertall in this list is Taipei 101 which is only 13 years old by now as it is built in 2004. More and more new buildings are joining the list with two newcomers this year; Ping An Finance Center and Lotte World Tower at No.4 and No.5 placing respectively. Former world’s tallest buildings and still the current world’s tallest twin buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers are kicked out of the top 10 list this year as they are now placed at No.11 (and 12) with height of 452 metres. Too bad…my home coutry’s famous twin towers are now out of the ranking. Anyway, in few years to come, Malaysia will have another new supertall; PNB 118 Tower that will certainly join this top 10 list with a height of over 600 metres.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Earth Hour 2017 today!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2017 by vincentloy

I have been keeping myself 24 hours a day in my room concentrating on reading plenty of online articles and websites on the topic for my dissertation proposal. I have a Part 1 submission on Monday and hopefully I will get it done by tomorrow. It’s been tiring for my eyes to read lines by lines in those articles the whole day. Actually, I have been doing this for the past few days as well to the point that I have neglected my design studio unfortunately.

Time goes by unbelievably fast. A month of the semester is already over. I felt as though we have just started the semester. Now, about a quarter of it is gone. More and more submission deadlines are coming in and that makes a stressful time out of my life. What to do…that’s the life of an architecture student. Now, I can’t wait for the two weeks of break somewhere on mid of April. That would be a great time for me to catch up on my assignments while still having the time to chill and relax.

On the other hand, I almost forget that today is the Earth Hour event. Started 10 years ago in 2007 at Sydney, Australia, this event of switching off non-essential lights for one hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm (local time) has becomes a worldwide phenomena ever since. Well, it doesn’t play much role on saving the Earth but the event at least has the potential and impact of raising awareness among the general public on the importance to take care of this lovely planet. But since I’m doing my assignment just now during that one hour, I couldn’t bother but to continue on my work without switching off any lights at all. Unfortunately, this event is also getting lesser and lesser attention on each passing year.

I noticed there are a number of cool movies coming out this month and I don’t have the time and opportunity to watch them unfortunately. They are ‘Power Rangers’ movie (the original series made up part of my childhood entertainment), ‘Life’ (movie about an extraterrestrial invading the outer space station), ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (a live-action remake of the animated classic starring one of my favourite actresses, Emma Watson), The Boss Baby (an animated comedy that looks promising from its trailer), etc. How nice it is if I have a few days to be totally free and watch all of them, and the spare time will be spent wandering around in the city too. I also wish to visit Fremantle. Since coming back to Perth last month, I have not been to Fremantle yet. But now, I couldn’t get my mind off from those assignments! Damn…what a stressful life.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

 

Second week done with plenty of gatherings and a TVB drama review for ‘Destination Nowhere’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by vincentloy

First week of the semester is considered a happy-go-lucky week as no one would like to start on the assignments on the first week itself. Now, even the second week is gone and there is no more time to be wasted anymore. There are several submissions coming very soon already and I’m way not prepared yet. I did do my work, but 24 hours a day is just not enough. I’m not on track in my progress in all the units this semester. Well, I took that off my mind for a while first to enjoy this weekend.

Last Friday, I get back to the court to play badminton with my friends for about 3 hours. That was after a very stressful design studio with nothing from my part to show to the lecturers and I don’t really get what they want with their super-hard-to-understand words. It’s good to be back playing badminton after several months of not playing it already, and unfortunately, my badminton skill has not improve. The gathering did not stop there as we went for some snack and drink after that. Then, yesterday evening, we had another gathering in a friend’s house to enjoy the potluck dinner as well as to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Several hours later, I will heading out with my housemate to watch a movie. So many activities, and hence, not much time to focus on my assignments. Well, I will promise to myself to concentrate on my study from tomorrow onward.

Recently, I finished watching another TVB drama. It’s ‘Destination Nowhere’ (迷), a Hong Kong drama about a female news reporter who get caught up in the problematic collusion scheme between government official and businesses. All the hardship she faced has lead to her to be forced to become cunning and evil especially after the murder of her daughter. Those complicated cases that were actually linked to one another were then investigated by a police inspector who later felt in love with the female news reporter. This 30-episodes series starred Kevin Cheng, Kristal Tin, James Ng, King Kong Lee, Winki Lai, etc.

The plot is very interesting but there are several obvious plot holes that ruin the logic of the story in some major parts. The main cast, Kevin Cheng and Kristal Tin only get to bump onto each other in the very later stage of the series. I’m fascinated by the director’s decision to show them crossing over but not knowing each other in many occasions in earlier episodes but that were taking too many episodes. Once they knew each other, their relationship builds up too quickly. It’s a fresh thing to see this new pairing between Kevin and Kristal by the way. Their acting in this drama were also top notch especially Kristal. I’m stunned yet by another groundbreaking performance by Kristal. Her character is a very challenging one that requires execution of variety of emotions. She has a role that has to show the innocent side, leadership side, crying side, and cunning side all in one drama. She nailed it. There were time when I was sleepy and not paying attention while watching new episode of this drama on late night, and then, I immediately paid attention and went fully awake by her performance. I don’t mind giving her another best actress award but it is too early to tell right now since awards season is at the end of the year. This drama is being shown too early in the year and will be usually forgotten by the time awards season come. Other cast also did good job such as James Ng (still don’t like his face and his crying is too ugly to watch) and Winki Lai. Even the bad guy portraying ‘Wat Dee’ is putting on a very good performance. I don’t know his name but I pity him for always portraying bad guy in TVB dramas. He has the bad-guy look.

Overall, this drama is nice to watch. It is all good due to the amazing performances by the cast. Their acting kept me not wanting to leave my seat watching every episodes of this drama. There is also a good amount of suspense and dramatic moments throughout the whole series to keep engaging the viewers. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Destination Nowhere’ a total of 7.5.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Pritzker Prize 2017 Winner: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by vincentloy

The recipient of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious honour to architect, is a little less known. The recipient goes to not only a single person this year, but three, who works under one office; RCR Architects. They are Rafael Arana, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Well, it’s not about popularity and the ‘star’ appeal to win this honour. It’s about one’s significant contribution to the field of architecture to be able to receive this award.

Here are an article from Dezeen (original source: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/) that introduces us to this award-winning architecture office, RCR Arquitectes:

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Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta all studied at the School of Architecture in Vallès, and set up their practice in their home town of Olot, Catalonia, in 1988. Their work ranges from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, each designed to closely relate to the environment of its site. The three architects started working locally, designing an athletics track for the town in 2000 before creating their own office in an old foundry there eight years later. RCR Arquitectes’ other projects in Olot include a private house and a restaurant.

Many more of the studio’s projects over the past 10 years have also been located in Spain’s Girona province, ranging from a winery to a kindergarten and a public theatre. Later the firm began building slightly further afield – completing an art centre and a museum in France in 2014. Often collaborating with other architects, the trio uses materials like recycled steel and plastic. The Pritzker jury described their projects as “beautiful and poetic”. “Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromising of its time and place,” said the jury citation. “Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community.” “They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.”

See 10 key projects by RCR Arquitectes below, in roughly chronological order:

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Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain

Looping through two clearings in an oak forest, the running track avoids the trees and is coloured green to blend with its surroundings. The natural topography of the site provides stands for spectators, while a small pavilion comprising two Corten steel volumes includes a bar and storage for the football field.

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Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

A descending pathway with angled steel sides funnels visitors down from opposite directions to the entrance of the winery. Once inside, the material also creates a vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas, where gaps in the roof allow slithers of light into the underground spaces.

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Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

Situated in Barcelona’s dense Eixample district, this cultural venue was intended to break the continuity of its historic street. A bridging section of the front building – which houses the library – provides public access underneath to a courtyard behind, where a low-slung volume wraps around the edge.

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes transformed a former foundry in their home town into their own offices and studio. Elements of the original building, like crumbling walls and a steel structure, were preserved. They were then paired with huge expanses of glass to create light-filled workspaces.

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El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

Gradients of colourful plastic create a rainbow effect across this kindergarten building. A courtyard at the centre lets children play outside in a protected environment, while the plastic allows coloured light to flood the spaces inside.

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La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

To form a covered public space for theatre productions, the architects built a slatted-steel box, with angled sides and open ends, over a plaza sandwiched between two old structures. The volume faces a river and is connected to the opposite bank via a bridge made from the same material.

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Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain

Swooping over this restaurant is a lightweight structure made from thin metal pipes, with translucent plastic stretched across the top. The canopy evokes the experience of dining al fresco, and extends beyond the enclosed space to protect those who are actually eating outside.

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

When renovating this house in their home town, the architects exposed the underside of its tiled roof and concealed circulation on either side behind thin vertical louvres. In the central space – illuminated by a giant glass wall at the back – contemporary insertions form a sunken kitchen and dining level, with two separate mezzanines for lounging and sleeping above.

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

Tucked inside the stone walls of a historic chateau, rooms made from steel and glass wrap around three sides of the building’s internal perimeter. These spaces host exhibitions, conferences and workshops dedicated to the art and design of food and cooking, and face a central courtyard that is used for larger events.

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France
In collaboration with G Trégouët

Contemporary art exhibitions are housed within weathering-steel boxes that cantilever slightly from a small slope. The galleries are linked by glazed corridors and bridges, forming a route through the museum.

After receiving this prestigious honour, this Spanish firm along with these three leading architects shot to fame immediately in world of architecture.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source (also stated earlier): https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/.)