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"I Prefer When Form Follows Force": an Interview with Helmut Jahn

09:30 - 10 October, 2018
"I Prefer When Form Follows Force": an Interview with Helmut Jahn , Courtesy of Helmut Jahn
Courtesy of Helmut Jahn

In the last few years something has happened to architects’ willingness to strive for originality. The boldest visions now often come from the old guard of architecture - and frankly, I enjoy conversations with them much more. The current insistence on having common ground pushed so many younger architects into a zombie-like copycat state of mind. But to me, common ground means not to think alike – then there is space for discourse.

My most recent conversation with Helmut Jahn at his Chicago office is a case in point. “Architecture is all about going with your gut. I prefer when form follows force rather than function,” he told me. His distinguished career has been one of twists and turns, and he is not planning to give up exploring new ideas any time soon. His 1985 quadrant-in-plan Thompson Center reinvented a mundane government typology into a soaring public place, with its curved colored glass facade decisively welcoming a postmodernist period to Chicago (one we thought had finished, but now seems to be ongoing, encompassing all of post-Modern movements as its mere shades and variations.) Jahn’s architecture shook and modernized a number of global cities, and with time and experience, what began as a rebellion against Mies’s “less is more” modus operandi matured into nuanced, measured, though unquestionably gutsy, production of towers, airports, convention centers, headquarters, and, most importantly, public spaces. As Jahn himself says, “...anything you don’t need is a benefit. Not only you have to have less things but with the things you have left you have to do more.”

Courtesy of Helmut Jahn Courtesy of Helmut Jahn Courtesy of Helmut Jahn Courtesy of Helmut Jahn + 27

6 Projects in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and USA Selected as Finalists for the 2018 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize

18:15 - 29 July, 2018
6 Projects in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and USA Selected as Finalists for the 2018 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize, Tepanzolco Cultural Center in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico / PRODUCTORA + Isaac Broid. Image © Jaime Navarro
Tepanzolco Cultural Center in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico / PRODUCTORA + Isaac Broid. Image © Jaime Navarro

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.

In "Horizontal City," 24 Architects Reconsider Architectural Interiors at 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial

10:20 - 25 September, 2017

Horizontal City is one of two collective exhibitions (the other being Vertical City) at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. 24 architects were tasked by artistic directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee to "reconsider the status of the architectural interior" by referencing a photograph of a canonical interior from any time period.

Their challenge was in considering the forms and ways that their selection "might extrapolate out from the cropped photographic frame into a spatial and lifestyle construction across a larger, horizontal site" – in this case, a field of plinths, the size and positioning of which is a direct reference to the footprint of Mies van der Rohe's 1947 plan for the IIT Campus in Chicago.

PRODUCTORA's Pavilion on the Zocalo Wins MCHAP.emerge 2014/2015

12:00 - 4 April, 2016
PRODUCTORA's Pavilion on the Zocalo Wins MCHAP.emerge 2014/2015, © Luis Gallardo
© Luis Gallardo

Yesterday during the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) ceremony, Mexico's most prominent public square, the Pavilion at the Zocalo by Mexico City's PRODUCTORA won the MCHAP.emerge 2014/2015 award, deeming it the best new architecture in the Americas by an emerging practice.

The MCHAP.emerge prize is awarded biennially by the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). As winner, PRODUCTORA will be given the opportunity to lead a research studio in 2017 related to 'rethinking metropolis' along with $25,000 of funding. 

PRODUCTORA was a finalist among practices from Canada, the United States, Chile and Paraguay. The decision was made by Jury President Stan Allen, architect and former Dean of Princeton University’s School of Architecture (New York); Florencia Rodriguez, editorial director of Piedra, Papel y Tijera publishers (Buenos Aires); Ila Berman, Professor of Architecture, University of Waterloo (Waterloo); Jean Pierre Crousse of Barclay & Crousse (Lima), and Dean Wiel Arets (Chicago).

Event: Come To The Table With Chicago Educators

02:30 - 26 October, 2015
Event: Come To The Table With Chicago Educators

Come to the Table is an installation made of reconfigurable elements that serve as a platform for dialogue. The construct is a framework to engage local architects, artists and thinkers in questioning What is the State of the Art of Architecture Today? Confirmed Panelists include Penelope Dean (Associate Professor, UIC), Vedran Mimica (Associate Dean, IIT)
and Ben Nicholson (Professor, SAIC).

 

MCHAP Shortlists the 36 Most “Outstanding Projects” in the Americas

01:00 - 24 June, 2014
MCHAP Shortlists the 36 Most “Outstanding Projects” in the Americas

Wiel Arets, Dean of the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and Dirk Denison, Director of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), have announced the inaugural MCHAP shortlist – 36 “Outstanding Projects” selected from the 225 MCHAP nominees.

“The rich diversity of these built works is a testament to the creative energy at work in the Americas today,” said Arets. “When viewed alongside the innovative work by the MCHAP.emerge finalists and winner, Poli House by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen which we honored in May, we see the evolution of a distinctly American conversation about creating livable space.” See all 36 winners after the break.

Pezo Von Ellrichshausen's Poli House Wins Inaugural MCHAP for Emerging Architecture

00:00 - 22 May, 2014
Pezo Von Ellrichshausen's Poli House Wins Inaugural MCHAP for Emerging Architecture, Poli House / Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Image © Cristobal Palma / Estudio Palma
Poli House / Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Image © Cristobal Palma / Estudio Palma

Yesterday at the Illinois Institute of Technology's (IIT), Pezo Von Ellrichshausen was awarded the prestigious Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) for Emerging Architecture. Selected for their finely crafted, concrete Poli House, which serves as both a summer residence and cultural center on the Coliumo Peninsula, the Chilean firm was the first practice ever to receive the prize.

Four Architects Shortlisted for Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture

00:00 - 30 April, 2014
Four Architects Shortlisted for Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture, Maximilian’s Schell; Los Angeles, California, US / Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues
Maximilian’s Schell; Los Angeles, California, US / Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues

Four projects have been shortlisted for the inaugural Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) for Emerging Architecture. Announced by the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and its Dean Wiel Arets, the prestigious prize aims to recognize an emerging practice with the most outstanding built work in the Americas. The winner, which will be announced in May, will be awarded a $25,000 prize and an IIT research professorship that will focus on rethinking the metropolis.

Spanning the Americas from Chile to Canada, the shortlisted projects are... 

IIT’s College of Architecture Launches the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize

00:00 - 10 February, 2014
IIT’s College of Architecture Launches the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize, Courtesy of IIT
Courtesy of IIT

The College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and its Dean Wiel Arets has announced the creation of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) and the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture. With an objective to “reward the daring contemplation of the intersection of the new metropolis and human ecology,” these two biennial prizes will “recognize the most distinguished built constructs of the North and South American continents” while fostering research toward rethinking the metropolis.

MCHAP is an extension of the larger curricular and research initiatives of IIT, as established by Dean Wiel Arets, who states: “This new prize will not be bestowed to an individual or organization based solely off inventive form, however clever its design, or based solely off a submitted image, no matter how captivating. The prize's jury will instead be holistic in their approach to selecting exceptional works. Architecture, as a discipline, will continue its pursuit of technology, so that it can further advance. And architecture is for people; it is strengthened by their presence.”