The College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology announces the establishment of the Mies Crown Americas Prize, MCHAP, to recognize the most distinguished architectural works built on the North and South American continents.
The Prize will be awarded biennially within the masterpiece of S. R. Crown Hall, the organization’s Chicago-based laboratory and mission control center. The recipients of this new prize will be named by a jury of professional architects, curators, writers, editors, and other individuals whose work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of design.
It will be twofold in nature: it will recognize pre-eminence in architecture while additionally awarding a member of the profession’s younger generation, by way of the MCHAP for Emerging Architecture, that harnesses the talent and ambition needed to devise and bring forth a truly outstanding first / early built work.
The Jury will be holistic in their approach to the honoring of exceptional works, as defined by the discourse that enabled their conception, construction, and fruition.
Architecture is for people; it is strengthened by their presence. Thus as the world’s cities continue their current expansion of population, it’s the research into the rethinking of these metropolises that will lead to our unraveling, and deeper understanding, of their intensified urban living conditions.
The two continents of the Americas bear a history rooted in discovery, invention, and innovation: a culture initially formed by adapting or drawing upon European, African, and Asian influences. The American continents have long ago come of age and this award seeks to build— through a global dissemination of its results—a global platform that will engage students, academics, and professionals alike. The MCHAP hopes to inspire practitioners to excellence and nurture an impassioned exchange of ideas. Only in this way can we advance our species and its many cultures; only in this way can we step into an unpredictable future with both confidence and optimism.
Because the practice of architecture today stands at a threshold—the brink between the premises of the 20th century and our rapidly changing living conditions—we feel compelled to gather our forces and embark upon a conversation. It is a dialogue inclining more toward practice than toward theory, one directed more toward the future than toward the past. And in recognizing the enormity of the issues confronting the global community today, the exchange is one that will challenge the depth of our understanding as well as our internal fortitude. It is with this aspiration that we announce the founding of the Americas Prize, hosted by the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology.
Architectural prizes are generally awarded to those who achieve excellence within the field of design. We accept this definition, but it occurs to us that we must insist upon something more. We live in a revolutionary age, one in which the metropolis in its many forms now houses the majority of the world’s population. Our communication systems move at ever-greater speeds while local economies are merging inter-continentally into a vast commercial network. Our living habits are undergoing generational shifts and rapid cultural change. The world today has been radically reconstituted from that of even a quarter-of-a-century ago, and architects are being called upon to respond. Design premises need to be reexamined.
The Americas Prize will laud those built works that recognize the altered circumstances of the human condition. It will honor those projects that consider how we might elevate the quality of our built environments by extending our interests beyond the proverbial four walls. It will endorse those who acknowledge the interdisciplinary nature of our new 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 awarding of the Prize is not the end, but only the beginning of the event. It is the ensuing dialogue among designers, scholars, and urban thinkers that is the objective of the commendation. In this light, we hope to build a bridge between students, curricula, and professional practice.
We proffer such a hope with the recognition that many things are beyond our control. In viewing the complexity of the issues before us today, we have grown accustomed to feeling puny, and rightfully so. Nevertheless, the scale of what we seek for answers is not the determining factor. We must recall that only a few generations ago someone imagined the Doric column, perfected the formula for porcelain, experimented with the rib arch, and envisioned an orbiting satellite—all of which have radically altered our living conditions and expectations. It is our task today to imagine the elements of the future metropolis. The purpose of the Americas Prize is to ponder the settings of the architectural stage upon which the future of humanity will play out.
The Americas Prize is awarded to the best architectural work in the Americas realized in the preceding two years. The authors of the winning project will be recognised with the MCHAP Award, the MCHAP Chair at Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture for the following academic year and funding of $50,000 towards research and a publication related to the theme of ‘rethinking the metropolis'. The MCHAP Chair will give a public lecture as part of the IIT College of Architecture’s lecture series, and engage in other agreed upon forms of academic research. The Americas Prize is announced at the Prize Ceremony in the fall of the award year.
The MCHAP Book will feature the Americas Prize Winner, in addition to the Finalists, the Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture Winner, and the Outstanding Projects recognized by the Jury. Through a series of diverse essays and articles, the book will highlight the architectural perspective that challenges the limits of the profession. The Americas Prize Winner will be profiled internationally in print, film and digital media.
The Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture is awarded to an outstanding built work in the Americas by an emerging practice and realized within the preceding two years. The authors of the winning project will be recognized with the MCHAP.emerge Award, the MCHAP Research Professorship in the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology for the following academic year where they will lead a studio related to 'rethinking metropolis' and funding of $25,000 towards research and a publication related to the theme of 'rethinking metropolis'. The Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture is announced at the Benefit Ceremony in the spring of the award year.
In addition to being featured in the MCHAP Book, the Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture Winner will receive a monograph focusing on their award-winning work.
The MCHAP.student is awarded to the most outstanding project by a graduating student that addresses the metropolis through an architectural proposal.
We welcome students who express the interest in “Rethinking Metropolis” and whose work provide the platform for research, for the development of knowledge and skills, for taking part in design exercises, for debate, and for making. MCHAP interprets architecture in its broadest definition.
All submitted student projects will be reviewed by the MCHAP jury and the winner will be invited to Chicago, expenses paid, to be presented with the award by the MCHAP jury alongside the MCHAP winner at the awards ceremony in IIT’s S. R. Crown Hall. The MCHAP.student winner will be acknowledged with a Research Fellowship at the IIT College of Architecture and ten thousand dollar ($10,000) commitment towards a production of the outcomes of a Research Fellowship.
Nominations for the two awards will be put forward anonymously by the group of Nominators. For the Americas Prize, each Nominator will be asked to propose a maximum of five projects that represent the best projects realized in the Americas over the previous two years. Additionally, the Nominators will be requested to submit one built work for consideration for the Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture. All nominations will be due in January of the awarding year.
Following the nomination process, the individuals or offices, referred to as Authors, will be requested to submit a dossier on their project. The submission requirements will be standardized for all entries.
The Jury will hold its first session in the early spring and review the nominations for both awards. At the conclusion of the session, the Jury will announce the five finalists for the Americas Prize, as well as the winner for the Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture; the latter of which will be presented at the Benefit Ceremony held later in the spring.
The second Jury session will be held in the summer, with visits to each of the five finalist projects and meetings with the respective Authors and Clients. The IIT College of Architecture will host the Americas Prize Ceremony in the fall. This multi-day symposium will include presentations from the Authors of each of the five finalists and a final Jury debate, culminating in the awarding of the Americas Prize.
The Americas Prize process will be presented through print, film, and digital media. The two publications emanating from this process will also be seen as important research documents. The MCHAP Book will present not only the Jury deliberations of the selection process (Americas Prize Winner and four additional Finalists, Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture Winner, and other Outstanding Projects), but will also serve as a forum for the questions raised by the project and its importance within a larger intellectual context. A monograph will be published on the work acknowledged in the Americas Prize for Emerging Architecture. Additional research developed as a result of the MCHAP Research Fellowship will be the subject of subsequent publications.
Schedule for the nomination process 2015/2016
November 2015: Decision on new nominating bodies
December 2016: Nomination forms are distributed to the nominating bodies
15 February 2016: Deadline for the submission of nominations for MCHAP and MCHAP.emerge
3, 4, 5, March 2016: Jury 1 Session - Selection of MCHAP Finalists
April 2016: The list of nominated candidates for MCHAP and MCHAP.emerge is published
1 April 2016: Announcement of MCHAP.emerge winner
June 2016: Jury 2 Session - Announcement of MCHAP Finalists
15 July 2016: Deadline for the submission of nominations for MCHAP.student
19 October 2016: Announcement of MCHAP winner and MCHAP.student winner