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The Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)’s School of Architecture in Chicago has kicked off the fifth cycle of its biennial award program honoring exceptional works of architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, and infrastructure located in North, South, and Central America.

To qualify for MCHAP’s two distinct awards—the Prize for Emerging Practice, or MCHAP.emerge, and the Americas Prize—nominated works must have been completed in 2022 and 2023. The winning projects of the previous prize cycle were Taller | Mauricio Rocha for its expansion of Mexico City’s Anahuacalli Museum, which was awarded the flagship prize, and fellow Mexico City–based studio Taller Capital for its MCHAP.emerge–winning landscape and infrastructure–focused revitalization project at the aging Colosio Embankment Dam in the city of Nogales.

“This year marks a full decade since the first MCHAP award, and it’s been a great honor to recognize more than a thousand nominated works that reveal the power of architecture to improve the quality of lives,” said MCHAP director Dirk Denison in a statement. “We have learned so much from the stories of these projects and the people who made them happen.”

As is custom with the prize, the last cycle’s MCHAP winner will serve on the just-announced jury of Cycle 5. Joining Rocha is architect and urban planner Maurice Cox, who is the former mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, and former commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development; Sofia von Ellrichshausen, 2014 MCHAP.emerge–winning founding partner of Chilean art and architecture studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen; Giovanna Borasi, director and chief curator of Montreal’s Canadian Centre for Architecture; and Gregg Pasquarelli, founding principal of New York–based SHoP Architects. Cox is serving as jury chair. “We’ve charged this incredible group to identify, through these nominated works, the qualities that are most meaningful and needed for our time,” said Denison.

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An exhibition of nominated works at Crown Hall during a past prize cycle. Photo courtesy MCHAP

More than 200 contenders have already been submitted—via a “network of anonymous expert nominators”—to MCHAP’s fifth cycle; these nominated works will be on view in a public exhibition held March 20–30th at the prize’s namesake S.R. Crown Hall at IIT. The landmarked building, considered one of Mies van der Rohe’s finest works, was completed in 1956. (Coincidentally, Crown Hall will also serve as backdrop for the 2024 Pritzker Prize ceremony and lecture in May.) In addition to the exhibition, all nominated projects can be viewed online at the MCHAP website beginning March 20—this is also the date that the Cycle 5 jury will convene for the first time. In April, a longlist of outstanding work for both awards, selected from the full nominee pool by the jury, will be revealed.

Further out in September, MCHAP will host the inaugural MCHAP.emerge Symposium on Critical Practice, a multi-day summit at Crown Hall that aims to “widens conversations around the MCHAP.emerge award to reflect on changes in how architects work today.” The event will culminate on September 27 with a celebration of the MCHAP.emerge finalists and the naming of the winning project.

The Americas Prize will be awarded at Crown Hall during a March 21, 2025, ceremony with a day of public conversations preceding the big event.

MCHAP also recently launched a YouTube video series, filmed by Pablo Gerson, that highlights each of the Cycle 4 finalists. Gerson, who also documented the rigorous project selection process undertaken by the jurors, will return to produce short films for Cycle 5 that offer an in-depth look at the inner workings of the prize and showcase finalists.