IN: Inspiration

It’s a win for concrete

A concrete-built university in Peru has won the RIBA International Prize for best new building


The Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Lima, Peru, designed by Grafton Architects, has been named world’s best new building by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). This prestigious international architecture awardwas judged by a grand jury chaired by world-renowned architect, Richard Rogers, and has set a new global standard for architectural achievement.

It’s a win for concrete!

The inspiring new building was designed to give young Peruvians access to qualifications and professional opportunities and to encourage social mobility.

Speaking about the building, the RIBA jury said: “UTEC is an exceptional example of civil architecture – a building designed 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.”

The building integrates a graduate school and cultural centre, and has been designed to include an auditorium, research laboratories, classrooms, research offices, a library, meeting rooms and social areas. These latter include a theater that is open to the general public, a movie theater, exhibition spaces, a café and restaurant. 

“UTEC has been designed to encourage its students to interact in a unique way with the building,” the jury further added. “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.”

Based in Dublin, Grafton Architects has since been selected to design a new faculty building for the London School of Economics. In 2003, Grafton’s medical school and student-housing complex in Limerick was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize.

Images via Royal Institute of British Architects.

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