London-based Foster + Partners’ sweeping Petronas University of Technology has won Malaysia’s top architecture award, the Aga Khan, for 2007.

The triennial award, delivered by His Highness Aga Khan of Malaysia, is also the highest paying architectural award of its type (valued at $500,000) and focuses on Muslim communities and their development.

The Petronas University is dedicated to the study of civil, mechanical, chemical and electrical engineering.

Foster + Partners’ design harnesses a blend of straight lines and vibrant curves to provide a range of all-weather spaces for a climate known for tropical storms and harsh temperatures.

Four-storey blocks provide learning areas under canopies along with other communal facilities, including a modern-looking library.

The 45ha site provided specific challenges to the firm, such as its steep hills and lakes made from flooded, unused tin mines.

It is the second recent major win for Foster + Partners, who recently won the UK’s RIBA European Award for its Dresden Station redevelopment.

By Penny Jones