In October, a new international architecture award was bestowed on not one but two design teams at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Crown Hall. Jury president Kenneth Frampton announced to the audience’s collective gasp that the inaugural Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) would go to two projects: the Iberê Camargo Foundation in Porto Alegre, Brazil by Álvaro Siza; and 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Florida by Herzog & de Meuron.
Siza’s museum, dedicated to the paintings of Iberê Camargo, is most recognized by its white concrete and undulating arms cantilevered from the front façade. Herzog & de Meuron’s parking garage reimagines a common piece of utilitarian infrastructure as a dynamic, open structure with parking, retail, a private residence, and event programming that activates the street.
Envisioned as a recurring celebration of the 21st century’s best architecture from North and South America, MCHAP made up for lost time by awarding one project (the Iberê Camargo Foundation) for 2000–2008, and one for 2009–2013. Future awards are intended to be more frequent than every 14 years. In addition to the physical award, winners get to sit as the MCHAP Chair at IIT for the following academic year and receive $50,000 in support of research and a publication related to the theme of “rethinking the metropolis.”
The award was founded by architect Wiel Arets upon his becoming dean of architecture at IIT. Its goal was not only to recognize built work in North and South America, but also “to establish a richer discourse within architecture,” according to the award’s press release.
Kenneth Frampton led the jury, which also included Jorge Francisco Liernur, Dominique Perrault, Sarah Whiting, and Arets.
“MCHAP is about having a discourse on architecture and thinking about what are the possibilities at this moment within architecture,” said Arets, “and this discourse best belongs in schools.”
The five other finalists were: Altamira Residential Building in Rosario, Argentina by Rafael Iglesia Arquitectura; Capilla del Retiro in Auco, Los Andes, Chile by Undurraga Devés Arquitectos; Mestizo Restaurant in Santiago, Chile by Smiljan Radic; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Bloch Building in Kansas City, Missouri by Steven Holl Architects; and Seattle Central Library by OMA / LMN.