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Berkeley Prize 2020 International Undergraduate Architectural Design Excellence Essay

The Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence endowment was established in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design to promote the investigation of architecture as a social art. Each year the PRIZE Committee selects a topic important to the understanding of the interaction of people and the built world that becomes the focus of the Essay Competition. 

The Committee poses a Question on this website related to the topic. Students enrolled in any accredited undergraduate architecture program or diploma in architecture program throughout the world are invited to submit a 500-word essay proposal in English responding to the Question.  Qualified students may also team up with undergraduates from allied arts and social sciences programs and submit proposals in teams of two.

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About Berkeley Prize

The international Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence (BERKELEY PRIZE) was founded and continues to be led by Raymond Lifchez, Professor of Architecture and City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design (CED), through the result of a generous gift to the CED's Department of Architecture by the late Judith Lee Stronach. Now celebrating twenty years of its existence, the BERKELEY PRIZE has had more than 2100 undergraduate architecture students participate from 69 countries and has presented 131 awards to 12... read more


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Berkeley Prize International Undergraduate Architectural Design Excellence Essay


Aim and Benefits of Berkeley Prize International Undergraduate Architectural Design Excellence Essay

Purse

There is a total prize of 35,000USD, minimum 7,500USD first prize.  The remaining purse is to be allocated at the discretion of the Jury.


Requirements for Berkeley Prize International Undergraduate Architectural Design Excellence Essay Qualification

  1. The competition is open to all current full-time registered students in an undergraduate architecture degree program or undergraduates majoring in architecture in accredited schools of architecture worldwide. Diploma in Architecture students who have not yet completed their Diploma are also eligible.
  2. Essays must be submitted in English.
  3. Finalists will be required to provide proof of current registration in the form of copies of actual school transcripts. You are still eligible to compete if you were an undergraduate student on September 15, 2020, but graduate before the awards are scheduled to be given.

Checkout: How To Write A Scholarship Essay - Scholarship Essay Examples

Interview date, Process and Venue for Berkeley Prize International Undergraduate Architectural Design Excellence Essay

  1. From the pool of essay proposals received, approximately 25-28 are selected by the PRIZE Committee as particularly promising.
  2. The selected student teams become Semifinalists. These Semifinalists are invited to submit a 2,500-word essay, again in English, expanding on their proposals.
  3. A group of readers, composed of Committee members and invited colleagues, selects five-to-eight of the best essays and sends these Finalist essays to a jury of international academics and architects to select the winners.
  4. At the conclusion of the Essay Competition submittals, all Semifinalists are also invited to submit a proposal for a BERKELEY PRIZE summer Fellowship. 

Judging Criteria

Judging for the essay competition is on a numeric system. The members of the BERKELEY PRIZE Committee are asked to evaluate each essay in terms of the following criteria:

  1. Does the Proposal address the Question?
  2. How creative, or creatively developed, is the Proposal?
  3. Would the Proposal be clear to a broad audience?
  4. How does the Proposal rank in terms of writing style?
  5. How socially significant is the Proposal?
  6. What is the potential for developing this Proposal into a strong essay?

Each criterion is given a score of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest). The top approximately 25 scoring Proposals become Semifinalists.

This year, the opportunity is a Community Service Fellowship. Details for this new Fellowship will be announced in early 2021. 


Application Deadline

November 1, 2020


How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to Berkeley Prize on www.berkeleyprize.org to apply

Steps to Enter

  1. Meet the Eligibility Requirements.
  2. Write a 500-word proposal for an essay on this year's Essay Question, as posted.
  3. Provide one photograph as described below.
  4. Submit the essay and photograph online.

QUESTION: As a future architect, what is the best way you can serve the needs of your local community?

Become familiar with the history of the BERKELEY PRIZE, its many years of submissions and the research these submissions represent by exploring www.BerkeleyPrize.org.  In particular, you are required to read the 20th Anniversary, BP2018 responses by some of the former PRIZE winners describing their then-current work and projects; current updates to this work; and accomplishments of other winners as found on social media.  All of that can be found here.

As a result of these readings, answer the Question using the following prompts to frame your response:

  1. What you think your community needs most in terms of architecture to make the environment hospitable to everyone no matter what their age, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other distinguishing factor.
  2. How you think your architectural education enables you to provide such solutions.
  3. Why you think all of this is important.

The following Introduction provides you with further background to this year’s topic and provides additional perspectives on architects in service to the community.

For more details, visit Berkeley prize website



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