Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) by Grafton Architects has been announced as the first winner of the Royal Institute of British Architects International Prize for the world’s best building. Unlike any other previous award from the organisation, this accolade is open to any qualified designer from across the globe, focusing more on the transformative nature of structures which demonstrate visionary, innovative thinking and excellence in execution. The RIBA prize sets new standards for achievement, with a jury chaired by renowned practitioner Richard Rogers, the first winner of the program expresses the unique and innovative practice the organisation seeks to highlight.
RIBA president Jane Duncan notes that the programme “was created to celebrate civil architecture that empowers people and societies to innovate and progress. UTEC stood out from all other entries from around the world, clearly demonstrating its understanding, engagement with and concern for those who are lucky enough to live near, visit, teach and learn in it.”
UTEC is a striking addition to the city skyline, located in the Barranco district of Lima. The Ireland-based organisation collaborated with local partners, Shell Arquitectos, to create a new campus building for a specialist engineering university, produced to support young Peruvians to access qualifications, professional opportunities, ultimately encouraging social mobility. The edifice has also been nominated for the prestigious Beazley Design of the Year Award.
Richard Rogers states: “UTEC is an exceptional example of civil architecture—a building planned with people at its heart. 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.”
Other shortlisted artists for the prize included the Arquipelago Contemporary Arts Centre, Heydar Aliyev Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects, the Museo Jumex, by David Chipperfield Architects with Taller Abierto de Arquitectura y Urbanismo (TAAU) and the Stormen Concert Hall, Theatre and Public Library by DRDH Architects.
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1. Grafton Architects’ UTEC University Campus (2016).