New MCC-Blue River building wins national architecture award

December 04, 2023 | Tim Engle

MCC-Blue River East Building

You can now call it “the award-winning Blue River East”: the 25,500-square-foot workforce building on the Metropolitan Community College-Blue River campus in Independence is a 2023 American Architecture Award winner. 

More than 150 projects — in categories including airports, bridges, hotels, monuments, museums, parks, private houses and high rises — were lauded this year. BR East was one of five winners in the schools and universities category.

The awards, celebrating “the best new buildings” in the U.S. as well as overseas projects designed by American architects, are presented by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. An awards dinner is planned for Dec. 13 at the Arts Club of Chicago.

All the 2023 American Architecture Award winners, as well as other “short-listed” projects, are featured on their website, but alas, comments from the jury members (aka judges) are not included. At Blue River East’s ribbon-cutting in February 2022, James Pfeiffer of architecture firm BNIM called it a “simple, high-performance building” designed to be “intuitive, easy to use and hopefully a really joyful place to be every single day that you’re here.”

Blue River East was an $11.3 million project designed by BNIM and built by McCownGordon Construction, both Kansas City firms.