Establishment of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize announced

The College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and its Dean Wiel Arets recently announced the establishment of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) and the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture to biennially recognize the most distinguished built constructs of the North and South American continents. Directed by Dirk Denison, FAIA, the prize will be two-fold in nature to not only acknowledge exemplary built work but also to foster research toward rethinking of the metropolis.

The author(s) of MCHAP’s winning built work will receive an award of $50,000 USD, in addition to the MCHAP Chair at IIT during the subsequent academic year. The recipient(s) will conduct innovative research concerning the theme of “rethinking metropolis,” have the opportunity to conduct a series of public lectures, as well as engage in other forms of advanced academic research at IIT.

The MCHAP for Emerging Architecture will be awarded to those who have harnessed the talent needed to devise a truly outstanding early built work. The author(s) of the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture’s winning built work will receive an award of $25,000 USD, in addition to the MCHAP Research Professorship at IIT during the subsequent academic year, where they will have the opportunity to lead a research studio related to the theme of “rethinking metropolis.”

The winner of the MCHAP and the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture will be announced in S.R. Crown Hall during the awarding year. Both recipients will be globally published, both digitally and in print.

Administered from Chicago–a city built on innovation–within the masterpiece that is S. R. Crown Hall, the 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.”

The MCHAP will laud those built works that recognize the altered circumstances of the human condition. It will honour those projects that elevate the quality of the built environment by extending the interests beyond the proverbial four walls. It will endorse those who acknowledge the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary ventures. Above all, it will recognize those who have invested their work with the mystery and power of human imagination. The objective is to reward the daring contemplation of the intersection of the new metropolis and human ecology.

The announcement also names the inaugural MCHAP jury, which includes: Wiel Arets, Dean of the College of Architecture and Rowe Family College of Architecture Dean Endowed Chair at IIT, Chicago; Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University, New York; Jorge Francisco Liernur, Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies at the Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires; Dominique Perrault, Founding Principal of Dominique Perrault Architecture, Paris; and Sarah Whiting, Dean and William Ward Watkin Professor, Rice School of Architecture, Houston.

A network of professionally diverse, international ambassadors from throughout the Americas–who have had a significant impact on the theory and practice of architecture–will nominate built works. The jury will review all nominations, identify a body of outstanding projects, and select five MCHAP finalists, as well as the recipient of the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture. The jury will travel to the five MCHAP finalists, in order to experience these built works first hand. The author(s) of the five MCHAP finalists will be invited to present their work to the jury at S. R. Crown Hall in the fall, where the jury will engage in a direct dialogue about the works, before ultimately deciding the MCHAP winner upon the conclusion of the presentations.

Denison explains: “The awarding of the Americas Prize is not the end, but the beginning of a dialogue that will ensue amongst designers, scholars, and urban thinkers, and it is in this light that our efforts will be focused on building a bridge between academia, professional practice and our world of neighbourhoods.”

Both MCHAP components will be awarded biennially, beginning in 2014. The inaugural prize cycle will consider built works of architecture completed between January 2000 and December 2013. The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) hosts the MCHAP announcement to express the international nature of the prize. Wiel Arets and Dirk Denison are joined for presentations and a panel discussion by Kenneth Frampton; Phyllis Lambert, Founding Director Emeritus of the CCA; Vedran Mimica, Associate Dean of Research at the IIT College of Architecture; and Mirko Zardini, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the CCA.

For more information, please visit the MCHAP website at