Minutes ago in Detroit, Director Dirk Denison and 2018 MCHAP Jury Chair Ricky Burdett announced the six finalists of the 2018 edition of the Mies Crown Hall America Prize. Selected from a longer list of 31 projects announced earlier this summer in Venice, these outstanding works of architecture will compete for the top honor, the MCHAP Award, which will be announced in October. The authors of the winning award will take home $50,000 to fund research and a publication and will be recognized as the MCHAP Chair in IIT’s College of Architecture.
The six finalist buildings were completed between January 2016 and December 2017. The descriptive texts, provided by the MCHAP jury, celebrate the merits of each individual project.
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
This multi-level, stacked cultural building with galleries, library, and cinema on São Paulo’s iconic Paulista Avenue brings the public and pedestrian experience into the structure
Edificio E, University of Piura / Barclay & Crousse Architecture
Location: Piura, Peru
Set within a dry savannah landscape in the north of Peru, this new university building creates a compact and complex network of interconnected classrooms, offices, and open spaces specifically designed to accommodate students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Shoehorned into a tight site at the heart of São Paulo’s dense but fragile historic center, this institution offers leisure, sports, and medical facilities—including a rooftop swimming pool—to members of its progressive trade association, all connected by a generous 11-story ramp open to all.
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture / Freelon Adjaye Bond / Smith Group
Location: Washington, DC, USA
Responding with dignity to the Washington Monument and neighboring historic structures, the slanted copper screens of this new museum embrace a deep, multi-level experience for visitors to this site of pilgrimage for African American culture.
Location: Cuernavaca, Mexico
Adjacent to a Pre-Hispanic pyramid, the sloping roofs of this new sand-colored cultural center enclose an 800-seat auditorium and performance spaces, offering views of the historic site and city beyond.
Location: Detroit, USA
An innovative use of industrial Quonset corrugated galvanized steel structures creates a sequence of dynamic external and internal spaces providing affordable accommodation to a new generation of urban pioneers in Detroit’s fragile inner-city communities.
On the jury's selection criteria, Chair Ricky Burdett wrote,
We were not looking for architectural pyrotechnics. We were not interested in one-off iconic objects that could soon go out of fashion. We were not looking for technical ingenuity, however brilliant and ground-breaking. We were interested in buildings that work—for the city, for the institution, for the neighborhood, community, and the individual occupants. Buildings that have meaning and complexity, and enrich the lives of the people who use and inhabit them. We looked carefully at how projects related to their natural and man-made environments, their social and ecological landscapes. We were keen to understand how architects used local materials and skills, making the most of available resources. We were mindful of how buildings would adapt over time, how they would age and respond to changes in everyday practices and lifestyles. We were looking for projects that— regardless of scale or budget—might set new typologies for universities, museums, public institutions, galleries, and housing as we move forward in the twenty-first century.”
The MCHAP 2018 Jury includes Jury Chair Ricky Burdett CBE, Professor of Urban Studies and Director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme (London), Jose Castillo, Principal, Arquitectura 911sc (Mexico City), Ron Henderson, Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology and Director of the Master of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism (Chicago), Rodrigo Pérez de Arce, Professor, Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Estudios Urbanos, Pontificia Universidad Católica (Santiago), and Claire Weisz, Founding Principal of WXY (New York).
The prize, which was established in 2013, recognizes the greatest works of architecture built in the Americas.