The Mies Crown Hall Americas prize finalists for 2018 are announced

The Mies Crown Hall Americas prize finalists for 2018 are announced

The Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for 2018 has announced its finalists including the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC by Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smith Group; Andrade Morettin Arquitetos Associados’s cultural hub IMS Paulista in São Paulo; Barclay & Crousse Architecture’s ‘Edificio E’ education building for the University of Piura in Peru; Paulo Mendes da Rocha and MMBB Arquitetos’ leisure and medical building, SESC 24 de Maio, in São Paulo; Productora and Isaac Broid’s Teopanzolco Cultural Center in Cuernavaca, Mexico; and Edwin Chan/EC3’s affordable residential project True North in Detroit.

The biennial prize recognises the best built works of architecture in the Americas, including North and South America, and was conceived by Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture in 2013. 

The 2018 finalists were selected from over 175 projects nominated by a network of experts working across the geographical field. This year’s jury, who toured each of the sites, interviewing the architects and clients, included Ricky Burdett CBE, chair, Jose Castillo, Ron Henderson, Rodrigo Pérez de Arce and Claire Weisz. A driving point of the jury’s conversation was a debate surrounding what ‘quality’ means in architecture in the Americas today.

SESC 24 de Maio Paulo Mendes da Rocha and MMBB Arquitetos

Interior walkways at SESC 24 de Maio designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha and MMBB Arquitetos in São Paulo, Brazil

The judges were looking for projects that had potential for lasting influence across architecture and culture, pioneered the development of architecture as a practice, reshaped how we experience the built envrionment and participated in a wider cultural exchange.
‘We were not looking for architectural pyrotechnics. We were not interested in one-off iconic objects that could soon go out of fashion. We were not looking for technical ingenuity, however brilliant and ground-breaking. We were interested in buildings that work – for the city, for the institution, for the neighbourhood, community, and the individual occupants. Buildings that have meaning and complexity, and enrich the lives of the people who use and inhabit them,’ said Burdett.

IMS Paulista Andrade Morettin Arquitetos Associados São Paulo, Brazil

The IMS Paulista designed by Andrade Morettin Arquitetos Associados in São Paulo, Brazil

Burdett described how the projects each communicate the social and environmental challenges of today with ‘confidence, imagination, and modesty’ – this saw a shared architectural language across the finalists that expressed a similar concern with space as architects working in the mid-20th century. An interest in natural daylight, function prioritised over ‘symbolic facadism’ and an honesty of material use including durable choices such as concrete were all flagged: ‘...many of the projects explored the spatial potential of economy of means with maximum impact,’ he said.

The winner of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize 2018 will be announced on 10 October.§

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