Remodeling and Expansion of Celebrated Mexico City Museum Wins MCHAP 2023
A major renovation and expansion of the beloved Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City by Taller | Mauricio Rocha is the recipient of the 2023 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), presented by Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture.
The museum, conceived by prominent Mexican artist Diego Rivera in the 1940s and expanded over the following decades by architect Juan O’Gorman, sits in the culturally significant volcanic landscape in Mexico City’s Pedregal de San Angel neighborhood—a favorite working space for Rivera, and now an ecological reserve.
Mauricio Rocha, lead architect, accepted the award during the 2023 MCHAP Gala Awards Benefit Dinner on Friday, March 24, 2023, held at S. R. Crown Hall on the historic Mies van der Rohe-designed IIT campus in Chicago. Rocha will receive $50,000 in funding for research and the development of a publication while teaching for one year as the MCHAP Chair of Architecture at the College of Architecture.
The ceremony followed a day of presentations by Rocha and five other finalist-winners, which come from countries across the Americas from Canada to Paraguay, that were selected from nearly 300 nominations. A six-person jury, including MCHAP Director Dirk Denison and Jury Chair Sandra Barclay, winner of the 2018 Americas Prize, visited each of the six sites and spoke with the architects in person to finalize its decision. “All six finalists give more than what is asked for. They set the stage for a more generous future,” Denison said.
The jury praised the Anahuacalli Museum project for the use of volcanic stones and its interaction with the ecological reserve’s distinct lava fields—the result of an eruption from 2,500 years ago. The expansion brings three new buildings to the site and introduces a walkway connecting the structures with the newly renovated buildings. A new exhibition space was opened, which allows the public to view Rivera’s collection of 50,000 pieces of pre-Hispanic art.
“The way the museum extension mingles with the landscape speaks volumes about where
architecture is headed, and the way it honors the past is fearless, heartfelt, and original,” juror Julie Eizenberg says.
MCHAP, a biennial prize conceived by the College of Architecture in 2013, began its search for the 2023 session in Venice in August 2021 and was narrowed to 39 projects one year later. The award celebrates outstanding architectural projects from across the Americas.
The finalist-winners for the 2023 award include:
Guadalupe Market by Colectivo C733 in Tapachula, Mexico
The Menil Drawing Institute by Johnston Marklee in Houston, United States
Park in the Prado neighborhood by Connaturalin Medellín, Colombia
The Polygon Gallery by Patkau Architects in North Vancouver, British Columbia
Valois Housing Building by José Cubilla in Asunción, Paraguay
The last event, the 2022 MCHAP Prize for Emerging Practice, celebrates architecture practices less than a decade old, and was awarded to the Colosio Embankment Dam in Nogales, Mexico, by Taller Capital.
Photo: Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City (provided)