Winners of the 13th Annual Berkeley Prize Competition announced

Since its founding, the international Berkeley Prize competition has encouraged undergraduate architecture students to write about issues central to the understanding of the social art of architecture and the social role of the architect in today’s world. What is that role? What should it be? By asking students to grapple with just such problems, the Prize brings to the forefront of students’ thinking the reality that architecture is a social art.

The Berkeley Prize now comprises three separate and distinct competitions: the Essay Competition; the Travel Fellowship Competition; and the Architectural Design Fellowship Competition.

The 2011 Berkeley Prize Competition attracted 137 architecture students from 23 countries. The winners reflect the diversity of the authors and illustrate the worldwide interest in exploring the ideals of a socially grounded architecture. This year’s Berkeley Prize is focused on the topic “Valuing the Sacred.” Students were asked to respond to the following question:

What is a sacred space? Historically, certain buildings have served as sacred places for meditation, to celebrate a religious ritual, or simply to take refuge from the pressures of everyday life. Select a place, location or setting in your community or your local environment that you personally believe to be sacred, but that has as yet not been widely accepted as important in this way. Tell us why it is sacred. What community resources are needed to insure its preservation? What, if any, architectural intervention you believe is appropriate to memorialize its special nature?

The 2011 Berkeley Prize recipients are:

Essay Competition
First Place: “Museum of Music Moves a City” by Holly Simon, Dalhousie University School of Architecture, Halifax, Canada. ($4,500 US)

First Place: “Sauna: Temple of the Five Senses” by Iina Valkeisenmäki, Aalto University Department of Architecture, Espoo, Finland. ($4,500 US)

Second Place: “A Separate Place” by Rebecca David, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel. ($2,000 US)

Second Place: “A Walk Along the River: Fringe Graffiti in St. Louis” by Davis Owen, Washington University College of Architecture, St. Louis, USA. ($2,000 US)

Travel Fellowship Competition
Hriday Gami of the CEPT University Faculty of Architecture in Ahmedabad, India will travel to Finland to attend the ‘Wood in Construction and Architecture Program” at Aalto University. ($2,100 US stipend and airfare)

Milenka Jirasko of the Montana State University School of Art and Architecture in Bozeman, Montana will travel to Germany and Poland for the “Witness to History: From the Holocaust to the Revival of Jewish Life in Poland” service program sponsored by AMIZADE Global Service Learning. ($2,100 US stipend and airfare)

Diana Alexandra Mihai from Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest, Romania will travel to the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, India where she will join an Architects Sans Frontières – UK international workshop studying flood-related reconstruction in the Old Town of Leh. ($2,100 US stipend and airfare)

In addition, the Berkeley Prize wishes to acknowledge two other students – Acellam Benard of Makerere University, Faculty of Technology in Kampala, Uganda; and Christina Monzer of the University of California at Berkeley for their excellent proposals to join this year’s Global Studio Bhopal, which subsequently was postponed beyond this year’s Berkeley Prize cycle.

Architectural Design Fellowship Competition
Joseph Audeh from New York University will stage a student design competition centered on resurrecting community interest in a famous and socially significant 19th century/early 20th century public drinking fountain – currently dry – on a street corner in Greenwich Village, New York. ($2,500 US honorarium, $2,500 US student prize money)

Preeti Talwai, University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design, Berkeley, U.S.A., will use her Berkeley Prize to study People’s Park in Berkeley, California as a starting point to stage a student design competition focused on documenting and exploring the informal use of public space by socially disenfranchised groups. ($2,500 US honorarium, $2,500 US student prize money)

For more information, please visit