Architecture

"Modern day Machu Picchu" hailed world's best new building

"Modern day Machu Picchu" hail...
The concrete building was designed by Ireland's Grafton Architects, in collaboration with local firm Shell Arquitectos
The concrete building was designed by Ireland's Grafton Architects, in collaboration with local firm Shell Arquitectos
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UTEC is located in the Barranco district of Peru's capital, Lima
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UTEC is located in the Barranco district of Peru's capital, Lima
UTEC serves as a campus building for the city's specialist engineering university
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UTEC serves as a campus building for the city's specialist engineering university
UTEC offers multiple meeting spaces, terraced landscapes and nooks for students to use
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UTEC offers multiple meeting spaces, terraced landscapes and nooks for students to use
"UTEC is an exceptional addition to the city of Lima, and a project that will inspire other architects and universities all over the world," says RIBA President Jane Duncan
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"UTEC is an exceptional addition to the city of Lima, and a project that will inspire other architects and universities all over the world," says RIBA President Jane Duncan
The concrete building was designed by Ireland's Grafton Architects, in collaboration with local firm Shell Arquitectos
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The concrete building was designed by Ireland's Grafton Architects, in collaboration with local firm Shell Arquitectos

Peru's Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC), by Irish firm Grafton Architects, has been declared the world's best new building by the Royal British Institute of Architects (RIBA) and the winner of the inaugural RIBA International Prize. The project beat strong competition in a shortlist that featured five other top-tier buildings, including works by Zaha Hadid Architects and David Chipperfield Architects.

Likened to a modern-day Machu Picchu by RIBA, UTEC is located on the edge of a ravine in the Barranco district of Peru's capital Lima, and serves as a new campus building for the city's specialist engineering university. RIBA says it encourages social mobility for young Peruvians.

The brutalist building was designed in collaboration with local firm Shell Arquitectos and comprises a floorspace of 35,000 sq m (376,736 sq ft). According to Grafton Architects, UTEC's form is conceived as a concrete cliff, with larger sections such as meeting spaces placed nearest the ground, and teaching spaces and administration offices positioned on the higher levels.

Its shape allows for terraced landscapes and nooks for students to use, while also providing ample shading.

"UTEC is an exceptional addition to the city of Lima, and a project that will inspire other architects and universities all over the world," says RIBA President Jane Duncan
"UTEC is an exceptional addition to the city of Lima, and a project that will inspire other architects and universities all over the world," says RIBA President Jane Duncan

"UTEC is an exceptional addition to the city of Lima, and a project that will inspire other architects and universities all over the world," says RIBA President Jane Duncan. "Grafton Architects have created an innovative new model for a university campus that is highly responsive to its local environment and community. 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."

The RIBA International Prize was created to promote civil architecture that empowers people and societies to innovate and progress. The award is the organization's first to be open to any and all architects around the world.

Sources: RIBA, Grafton Architects

11 comments
Grelly
It's *really* ugly! What was their judging criteria?
KaiserPingo
And I find it scary and cold and ugly. Not a friendly place !
RussellMackenzie
It's hideous. I went to a uni built in the 70s; all concrete...I thought they'd learned their lesson. Obviously not, and comparing it to Machu Picchu...I can't see that at all.
CharlieSeattle
The 1950's soviet era judges can be excused for their Stalinist design bias.
MikeW
Are you sure a strong wind did not scatter the original plans and somebody put them back in the wrong order. Boy that is ugly.
JeffreyBrown
This particular building is rather ugly compared to the actual ruins of Machu Picchu which I personally visited in 1969. If this building reflects this older civilization's culture, it is an insult to the intelligence of the original builders of one of the greatest knowledgeable cultures in history. Shame on the Royal British Institute of Architects (RIBA) for lacking such judgement. It may be a functional building that took lots of $'s and time...but not sure it deserves such acclaim. The strongest structure in the world is the sphere (seamless hollow shells) layered with graphene, kevlar etc...When will the construction industry wean itself off the load system....brick on brick, nail on nail, cement on cement, rebar and framework and first utilize more 3-D and 4-D printing applications, then mass produce sphericals in various diameters for a multitude of uses? Contact me if interested
hydra
It is hideously ugly. What is wrong with the judges?
Buellrider
Not nice to look at. Lots of unnecessary and unsightly cement. Worlds worst building design. They'd never get to build that in Omaha, NE.
Matt Fletcher
Reminds me of the movie Brazil. Yes, it's purely concrete and windows the perfect building for every good Stalinist. This reward has clearly become a joke just like this building. Can't wait to see what it looks like in 20 years when it's weathered and rust stained.
Wolf0579
I find the geometry to be appealing, but the bare cement interior seems rather prison-like.