It’s official: Lima’s Brutalist behemoth Universidad de Ingeniería & Tecnologia has been declared the ‘best new building in the world’ by the RIBA.
UTEC is a vertical engineering and technology campus in the Peruvian capital, designed by Irish practice Grafton Architects. Judges of the inaugural RIBA International Prize – including architect Richard Rogers and RIBA president, Jane Duncan – likened it to a ’modern day Machu Picchu‘ for its platform-like concrete frame, which allows for open circulation of air and flexible meeting spaces.
‘The concept of a vertical campus defies convention, as does the mix of open and enclosed spaces, but both are key to the success of this building visually and spatially,’ said Duncan.
UTEC campus’s sharp concrete form takes inspiration from Lima’s close proximity to the sea and its busy motorway-side location. ‘[The] project is conceived as a “new cliff”, continuing the sea edge, clearly stating and defining the University on its new ground,’ said Grafton’s co-principals Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.
Farrell added to the Irish Times: ‘Students will be able to see back to the mountains, the sea and the desert and know where they are. What we are always trying to do in our work is heighten awareness of place.’
Classrooms and laboratories are enclosed volumes that have been stacked and inserted into the concrete structure.
Grafton Architects – who worked with local practice Shell Arquitectos on the project – beat stiff competition from five other practices, including Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield and DRDH Architects, to scoop the prize. View all the winners and runners up.
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