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Berkeley Prize International Essay Competition 2019 for Undergraduate Architecture Students (USD25,000 Prize)

Each year, the Berkeley PRIZE Committee selects a topic critical to the discussion of the social art of architecture and poses a Question based on that topic. Full-time undergraduate students enrolled in any architecture degree program or majoring in architecture throughout the world (or teams of two students, one of whom may be from another discipline) are invited to submit a 500-word Essay proposal responding to the Question.

Application Deadline: 1st November 2017

Essay Question: What have architects done in the past and what can they do in the future to help reduce the negative effects of climate and climate change?

About the Award: 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. This year the topic is: Architecture and Climate Resilience.

Eligibility: 

  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, 2018, but graduate before the awards are scheduled to be given.
  4. Team Up: Two students (maximum) who meet the eligibility requirements above may collaborate as authors. An architecture student may team up with another undergraduate in architecture, landscape architecture, urban studies, arts and humanities, the social sciences, or engineering. If two students collaborate, then both names must appear on their essay and if awarded a prize, the prize is to be equally shared.

Selection Process:

  • From the pool of essay proposals received, approximately 25 are selected by the PRIZE Committee as particularly promising. The selected individual students, or student teams, become Semifinalists.
  • These Semifinalists are invited to submit a 2,500-word essay, again in English, expanding on their proposals. 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.
  • At the conclusion of the Essay Competition submittals, all Semifinalists are also invited to submit for a BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship. Details for the Fellowship will be announced in the spring 2019.

Judging Criteria: Judging for the Berkeley Prize 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?

Value of Award: There is a total prize of 25,000USD, minimum 5,750USD first prize.  The remaining purse is to be allocated at the discretion of the Jury.

Duration/Timeline of Program: 

  • 15th September, 2018: Launch of 2019 Berkeley Prize Essay Competition.
  • 1st November, 2018: (Stage One) 500-word essay proposal due.
  • Mid-December, 2018: Essay Semifinalists announced.
  • February 1, 2019: (Stage Two) Essay Semifinalists’ 2,500-word essays due.
  • February 8, 2019: Launch of Travel Fellowship Competition for Essay Semifinalists.
  • Early-March, 2019: Essay Finalists announced.
  • March 12, 2019: Travel Fellowship Entries Due.
  • Mid-April, 2019: Essay winners and Travel Fellowship winners Announced

Visit Award Webpage for more details before you apply.

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