World’s best new building!

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Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Best new building in the world! You can tell that Theodore Dalrymple, who wrote “A modern Machu Picchu” for the Salibury Review, is not an architecture critic. There is too much common sense and indeed superior erudition in his piece about a building declared by the Royal Institute of British Architects to be “the best new building in the world” for 2016, RIBA’s first such prize. The building for the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología was designed by Grafton Architects. It is in Peru, hence “modern Machu Picchu,” though it bears no resemblance at any depth of metaphor to the ancient mountain village. Dalrymple’s key insight is:

In the second section of the Guardian for 16 January, there is an article about a building in Peru that has ‘just earned … the title of best new building in the world.’ As the awarding body was the Royal Institute of British Architects, it was only to be expected that the building was a complete aesthetic mess, an eyesore: for it is by awarding prizes to eyesores that the RIBA covers up its past and present crimes.

Ditto the American Institute of Architects and, alas, every other such major outpost of the contemporary architecture establishment. As anyone with eyes (which RIBA et al. do not have) is capable of doing, Dalrymple sees through the emperor’s new clothes. And here is the ridiculous Oliver Wainwright article in the UK Guardian that he is chuckling at. Enjoy! (And hats off to Andrew Reed for sending this to me.)

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Machu Picchu (Wilipedia)

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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2 Responses to World’s best new building!

  1. indisco33 says:

    As a layperson I laughed out loud at Wainwright’s assertion that the building, “…acts as a buffer between a busy highway and a quiet residential area.” ! It looks more like an insult to the residents, soon to be expanded to a 360 metro “cliff” of buildings. Mercy, me.


  2. Erik Bootsma says:

    For what it’s worth, most of the comments on the red Guardian are negative, rightly calling it ugly as sin.


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