Building in Peru Wins First RIBA International Prize

John Hill
25. November 2016
Photo: Iwan Baan

UTEC - Universidad de Ingeneria Y Technologia by Grafton Architects with Shell Arquitectos has bested five other finalists to win the Royal Institute of British Architects' inaugural RIBA International Prize.

Grafton Architects beat out Zaha Hadid Architects, David Chipperfield Architects and the other finalists that were announced last month. A global award open to "all qualified architects anywhere in the world," the RIBA International Prize replaces the institute's Lubetkin Prize, which was limited to RIBA members outside the European Union. The new prize is designed to be as prestigious as RIBA's Stirling Prize, the Pritzker Architecture Prize and other international awards.

UTEC was selected after the jury, headed by architect Richard Rogers, visited each of the finalist buildings. The jury described the winner as "an exceptional example of civil architecture - a building designed with people at its heart." Further, "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." Most memorably, the jury describes its "series of landscaped terraces with clefts, overhangs and grottos," as "a modern day Machu Picchu."

Photo: Iwan Baan

Upon announcement of the prize, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects said: “When we looked at the wonderful range of projects throughout the world which were being considered for the RIBA International Prize, we were honored to be in this group with such esteemed colleagues. For Grafton Architects, we found that the educational aspirations of the client together with the unique climatic conditions of Lima gave us the opportunity to 'invent' a new vertical campus for their new University of Engineering. We would like to acknowledge the important role played by our local architects in Lima: Shell Arquitectos. We would like to thank UTEC for their belief in architecture and in us and for giving us the wonderful opportunity to work on this special project."

Photo: Iwan Baan

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