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Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence Essay Competition 2022 (Total prize of $35,000)

Applications are open for the Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence Essay Competition 2022. 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. 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 Essay Competition


Aim and Benefits of Berkeley Essay Competition

  • There is a total prize of $35,000 USD, minimum $8,500 USD first prize.  The remaining purse is to be allocated at the discretion of the Jury.

Requirements for Berkeley Essay Competition Qualification

  • 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.
  • This year’s special team opportunity urges and recommends that you team with a full-time undergraduate social sciences student at your college or university or equally-accredited college or university in your local community in which you reside. Two students maximum may collaborate. Both of their names must appear on their Proprosal and potential Essay.  If awarded a prize, the prize is to be equally shared. 
  • If you are an undergradute architecture student who wishes to submit a Proposal and potential Essay without the equal work of a social science team member, you are permitted to do so and submit as an individual. This year, however, you are not permitted to team with another architecture student.
  • Essays must be submitted in English.
  • 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, 2021, 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 Essay Competition

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 approximately 25-28 top-scoring Proposals become Semifinalists, who will be offered the opportunity to write a 2500-word Essay based on the Proposal..


Application Deadline

November 1, 2021


How to Apply

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

Essay Question

  • You have been asked to design a housing project for the disadvantaged in your local community. What do you need to know to insure that your design will both reflect the lives and aspirations of those for whom you design and for the project to be a proud, long-term addition to the fabric of your community?

NB: You (and your teammate if you have one) will be asked to complete a short registration form which will not be seen by members of the Berkeley Prize Committee or Jury.

For more details, click here



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