2012 Berkeley Prize deadline in a week

The Berkeley Prize encourages undergraduate architecture students to expand their academic education by going into their communities and investigating how the built environment best serves and best reflects the social needs of those who live there. Cash awards, hands-on research experiences in foreign locales, and opportunities to mount complementary local competitions are given to students who present the best written essays describing what role the architect plays in developing this social art of architecture.

The Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence endowment was established in the Department of Architecture at the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley 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 for the Public Good.

This three-stage essay 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. A prize of $12,500 US will be awarded.

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. Undergraduate architecture students may team up with undergraduates from allied arts and social sciences programs.  

From the pool of essay proposals received, approximately 25 are selected by the prize committee as particularly promising. The 25 selected individual students, or student teams, become semifinalists, who are then 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 one of two Berkeley Prize Fellowships: the Travel Fellowship, or the Architectural Design Fellowship. Details for each will be announced in the spring of 2012. Past fellowship competition requirements, winning submissions, and follow-up reports by the winners are available to read on the website.

Architectural history, theory and practice are rich with ideas and actual buildings that exemplify the importance of architecture as a social art. In addressing the question posed by the Berkeley Prize 2012 essay competition, you will consider this legacy and its relevance to you as future architects.

The deadline for submission for the 500-word essay proposal is November 1, 2011.

For more information, please visit www.berkeleyprize.org/competition/essay/2012/