UTEC - Universidad de Ingeneria y Technologia
ARCHITECT: Grafton Architects
with Shell Arquitectos
CLIENT: Universidad de Ingenieria yTecnologia
AWARDS WON: RIBA AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL EXCELLENCE
shortlist: riba international prize
The UTEC in Lima is a new faculty for a 50 year old engineering university to enable young Peruvians to gain engineering qualifications and to encourage social mobility. This powerful statement of a building symbolises a bold and positive future for Peru, and draws on the temperate climate of the city and cultural environment.
Grafton Architects have created an innovative solution to the architectural program in the design of a vertical concrete campus, with open ended spaces of circulation interlinked with a series of suspended platforms that flow in between the structural frame, offering a balance between enclosed spaces and permeability to the exterior.
UTEC sits on the border of two residential districts. Seen in section it perches tantalizingly on the edge of a ravine like a bird of prey. Seen from across the ravine it is as bold and as pure a statement of engineering as could be imagined. Seen from the residential community that it borders it is a monolithic series of landscaped terraces, a giant hanging garden, a modern day Machu Picchu, an engineered architecture to rival nature itself. It is not a building defined by its envelope. It is a concrete cliff with clefts, overhangs and grottoes.
The structure provides shade from the zenithal sun, support for accommodation, a place of rich spatial exuberance and a place from which to view the life of the city. The architects have exploited the temperate climatic conditions. Only classrooms, offices, laboratories, lecture theatres, seminar rooms and toilets are enclosed. These are inserted into the frame. All circulation spaces are open and as these wind their way through the structure linking the enclosed boxes they provide a multiplicity of spaces and and places where students can meet, discuss and hold events. The life of the campus is literally on display in the open air but within the structure and its terraces.
In plan the building is an (expanding) articulated spine based on a series 20m vertebrae with a 10m subdivision. Soaring concrete blades act as the engineering and organisational structure. Accommodation is inserted within the repetitive concrete frame. In section the structure presents a perforate wall to the North (highway) and a series of cascading landscaped terraces.
UTEC is the culmination of years of spatial and formal experimentation by Grafton Architects. They have shown the extent of their mastery of their craft by forming the rich spatial composition from simple moves within an organised and repetitive system. The ambition of the project was clear to all and the consequent collaboration with the local engineers and architects was intense and collaborative. The circumstances of the climate, brief and the cultural environment have given free reign to the architects and their systematic approach to forming, enclosing and unravelling architectural space. The outcome is a bold and positive building that symbolises a new future for Peru and a spatial experience of truly Piranesian imagination and power.
CONTRACTOR: GRAÑA Y MONTERO S.A.,
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS: GCAQ INGENIEROS CIVILES
MECHANICAL ENGINEERS: GC INGENIEROS
LEED Certification Advisor: SUMAC Inc.
Electrical Engineers: AT Consultores
Landscape Consultant: Paisaje Vivo
Acoustic Engineers: Jimenez & Moreno
Lighting Design: Rie Sakata
Sanitation: Equipo G
INTERNAL AREA: 33,945 SQM
Date Of Occupation: 04/2015
PHOTOGRAPHER: Iwan Baan