Leisure projects lose out in race for RIBA International Prize
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Leisure projects lose out in race for RIBA International Prize

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Seen from across the ravine it is as bold and as pure a statement of the symbiosis between architecture and engineering as could be imagined
– The RIBA International Prize Grand Jury

The Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Lima, designed by Grafton Architects, has won the first ever RIBA International Prize.

Six projects were shortlisted for the award – which recognises the best building in the world – four of which were leisure projects.

The eventual winner however was the educational complex in Peru – although it does have a leisure component with the inclusion of a theatre and cinema space.

The judges, led by Richard Rogers, described the building as “a bold new addition to the city skyline.”

Designed in collaboration with local partners Shell Arquitectos, the facility was created for Lima’s specialist engineering university, established to give young Peruvians access to qualifications, professional opportunities and to encourage social mobility.

The judges were particularly impressed by the structure’s references to Peru’s terrain and heritage.

In their citation, they said: “Sitting on the border of two residential districts in Lima, in section UTEC perches tantalisingly on the edge of a ravine. Seen from across the ravine it is as bold and as pure a statement of the symbiosis between architecture and engineering as could be imagined; a piece of geology imposed on its pivotal site, mirroring the organic curve of the landscape and accommodating itself in the city. To its close neighbours, it is a series of landscaped terraces with clefts, overhangs and grottos, a modern day Machu Picchu.

“It is an exceptional example of civil architecture – a building designed with people at its heart.”

The leisure projects in contention for the prize were The Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan by Zaha Hadid Architects; the Stormen Concert Hall in Bodø, Norway by DRDH Architects; the Arcquipelago Contemporary Arts Centre in The Azores by Menos é Mais Aquitectos; and the Museo Jumex in Mexico City by David Chipperfield. The Ring of Remembrance war memorial in Northern France by AAPP was also considered by the judges.

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The Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Lima, designed by Grafton Architects, has won the first ever RIBA International Prize.
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