A vertical, concrete university campus in Lima, Peru has won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) inaugural International Prize.

Designed by Dublin-based firm, Grafton Architects, Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (University of Engineering and Technology) (UTEC) beat a strong shortlist of six finalists to take home the major prize.

Grafton Architects collaborated with locally-based Shell Arquitectos to design the vertical campus building. The project consists of reinforced concrete structural plates, which accommodates different environments such as classrooms, laboratories, offices and gardens. A number of landscaped terraces with clefts, overhangs and grottos add to the building.

The judges described the project as an exceptional example of civil architecture, acknowledging that it responded to Peru’s climate, terrain and heritage.

"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,” added RIBA president Jane Duncan.

Open to qualified architects worldwide, the International Prize aims to name the world’s “most significant and inspirational” building. Criteria includes the demonstration of “visionary, innovative thinking and excellence of execution, whilst making a distinct contribution to its users and to its physical context.”

Peter Stutchbury’s Invisible House was the only Australian project to be named by RIBA on an extended shortlist in May