Riba architecture prize won by 'modern Machu Picchu'

Riba architecture prize won by 'modern Machu Picchu'

A university building in Peru designed by a female-led Irish firm has won the first Royal Institute of British Architects global architecture prize, BBC reports.


The Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia (UTEC) in Lima was described by Riba as "inspirational" and a "bold new addition to the city skyline".


The engineering university was chosen from a shortlist of six, including work by the late Dame Zaha Hadid.


The prize is open to any qualified architect in the world.


It was set up to "celebrate civil architecture that empowers people and societies to innovate and progress", Riba said.


The high-rise UTEC building, designed by Dublin-based Grafton Architects, was described by the Riba jury as "a series of landscaped terraces with clefts, overhangs and grottos" which resembles a "modern day Machu Picchu".


The panel, chaired by Lord Rogers, said it was "an exceptional example of civil architecture - a building designed with people at its heart".


The jury added: "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 university is situated on the edge of a ravine in the Barranco district of Lima and is said to blend into its surroundings by "mirroring the organic curve of the landscape" while also "accommodating itself in the city".