True North in Detroit Selected as One of Six 2018 MCHAP Finalist Projects

True North, a live/work community in Detroit, selected as one of six finalists for the 2018 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP).

The biennial prize juried by international experts “recognizes the most distinguished architectural works built on the North and South American continents”.

True North commended for process in which it was built, architect-client relationship, integration of urban space and architecture, and positive community and city impact.

Winner to be announced in October 2018.

We are proud to announce that True North has been selected from more than 171 entries and 31 semi-finalists as one of six projects in North and South America competing to win the 2018 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP).

Designed by Edwin Chan, founder of the Los Angeles-based cross-disciplinary architecture and design studio EC3, and developed by Philip Kafka, founder of the Detroit-based real estate company Prince Concepts, True North won two national design awards in 2017 and has been published by leading U.S. and international media.

Relating True North’s design process and outcome to the many other cultural, institutional, educational, and office and projects throughout his 30+ year career at Gehry Partners, Edwin Chan remarked: “I am committed to the practice of architecture as the result of a close collaboration with the client and a dialogue with its context. True North gave me the opportunity to apply my experience working on international arts and culture projects at Frank’s office to create inviting and engaging urban spaces that bring people together, inspire communities and add to the vibrancy of the city. I am honored and grateful for the recognition from MCHAP and look forward to continuing this aspiration in my future work.”

Reflecting on what it means to develop ambitious residential and commercial real estate projects in a city like Detroit, Philip Kafka said: “I’m interested in how architecture can challenge consensus; how it changes the way people live, sure, but more importantly how they think and feel. True North is my first significant development. Having it recognized as a finalist for the MCHAP is humbling and inspiring. I knew True North took hard work and thoughtfulness, but to be a finalist for a prize that “laud[s] works that recognize the altered circumstances of the human condition,” makes me think I might be on the right track… I’ve got to keep working! It’s great knowing that Edwin and I were able to use architecture to make neighbors feel great about the work happening on their block, but that also make an international audience feel great about the work happening in Detroit. To me, success is when both of these important audiences genuinely cares.”

It is the first project to be built utilizing the unique expertise and services of John Patrick, founder of ABOVE THE FOLD and the soon-to-be-launched Architecture Talent Agency.

“It is time for systemic change in our industry. True North achieves precisely what I set out to do when I founded ABOVE THE FOLD in 2012, and we will soon silo the representation of architects under a new name, ‘Architecture Talent Agency.’ This will give us the opportunity to focus more closely on the economics of hiring architects in an effort to proactively educate clients——museums, hotel groups, developers, universities and more——where the real value and profitability are when making these decisions. They are not in a checklist-driven approach, but rather when a site-specific curatorial methodology that we are pioneering through projects like True North gets employed. ABOVE THE FOLD will remain a press and communications firm. We look forward to sharing more details this Fall.”

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