The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) College of Architecture has awarded the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) to Edificio E, a new academic building at Peru’s University of Piura that features an economical but visually striking design by Lima-based Barclay & Crousse Architecture.
The biannual prize is awarded to a recently built work in the Americas that demonstrates the highest standard of design in response to today’s changing environment. Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse, principals at the award-winning firm, will be given $50,000 toward research and the development of a publication in conjunction with their work. The pair will also take the MCHAP Chair of Architecture at ITT.
Edificio E at the Universidad de Piura is situated 600 miles northwest of Lima in a harsh, dry forest. The building features a series of individual lecture halls and administrative offices set up in a square and linked via interstitial, semi-exterior pathways and gathering spaces. Dubbed a “learning landscape” for the largely disadvantaged rural students that attend the university, the design was created to encourage social connection and the exchange of ideas.
“The ambiguous, shaded exterior spaces sheltered by the buildings that form the whole were created to provide a place for informal learning and for life in the broadest sense,” said Barclay and Crousse in a press release. “It’s been immensely rewarding to see how students and professors occupy the structure, and to see how it’s created a new centrality on campus, where people stay independently of having classes.”
The design team hopes the project will serve as an example for modest yet modern and expressive educational buildings for the future. Edificio E was informed by the other compact, concrete structures on the 321-acre campus, and it uses a simple layout and basic construction materials. Barclay & Crousse also designed it to withstand the potential earthquakes that are common in the northwestern region of Peru.
Edificio E was selected from 175 submissions across North and South America. Six finalists were announced in July after the jury, led by Ricky Burdett of the London School of Economic and Claire Weisz of WXY, took a 10-day trip of site visits examining the top projects. Among the final six were the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture by Adjaye Associates in Washington, D.C., as well as Truth North, by Edwin Chan in Detroit.