The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have revealed the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC), located in Lima and designed by Dublin-based practice Grafton Architects, as the winner of the inaugural RIBA International Prize. A longlist of thirty projects, published in May of this year, was narrowed down to six in October before a grand jury—chaired by Richard Rogers—selected the scheme as "an exceptional example of civil architecture."
The project, which sits on the border of two residential districts in the Peruvian capital, perches on the edge of a natural inner-city ravine. It is conceived as a piece of geology, mirroring the organic curve of the landscape and accommodating itself in the city. "To its close neighbours," the RIBA have suggested, it appears as "a series of landscaped terraces with clefts, overhangs and grottos – a modern day Machu Picchu."
Speaking about the building, the jury said:
Grafton Architects have created a new way to think about a university campus, with a distinctive ‘vertical campus’ structure responding to the temperate climatic conditions and referencing Peru’s terrain and heritage.
They continued: "UTEC has been designed to encourage its students to interact in a unique way with the building. The vertical structure provides open circulation and meeting spaces in a succession of platforms that compose the ‘frame’ of the building; teaching rooms, laboratories and offices are enclosed, inserted into and suspended from the exposed concrete structure. The frame is a device providing shade, a place of rich spatial exuberance and a platform from which to view the life of the city. The entire life of this vertical campus is on full display to the people of Lima."
UTEC is the culmination of years of experimentation by Grafton Architects. In this building they show the mastery of their craft, gifting Lima with a bold yet considerate contribution to the city and a visionary, world-class building.
The campus building, designed in collaboration with Shell Arquitectos, is part of Lima’s specialist engineering university which was established to give young Peruvians access to qualifications, professional opportunities and to encourage social mobility.
The grand jury included:
- Lord Rogers of Riverside (Chair)
- Billie Tsien, founding partner of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners based in New York City
- Kunlé Adeyemi, founder and principal of NLÉ
- Marilyn Jordan Taylor FAIA, the Dean of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Fine Arts
- Philip Gumuchdjian, founder of Gumuchdjian Architects and Chair of RIBA Awards
- Arquipelago Contemporary Arts Centre / Menos é Mais, Arquitectos Associados with João Mendes Ribeiro Arquitecto, Lda
- Heydar Aliyev Centre / Zaha Hadid Architects with DiA Holding
- Museo Jumex / David Chipperfield Architects with Taller Abierto de Arquitectura y Urbanismo (TAAU)
- Stormen Concert Hall, Theatre and Public Library / DRDH Architects
- The Ring of Remembrance, International WWI Memorial of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette / Agence d’architecture Philippe Prost (AAPP)