Berkeley Prize Announces Eleventh Annual Competition Cycle

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The international Berkeley Prize for Undergraduate Design Excellence launches on November 1, 2008, announces Professor Raymond Lifchez, Chair, Berkeley Prize Committee.

World Heritage in the Digital Age

Each year the Berkeley Prize, whose primary goal is to foster a larger awareness and understanding of the social art of architecture, sponsors an Essay Competition, a Travel Fellowship Competition, and an Architectural Design Fellowship Competition open to undergraduates studying architecture throughout the world.

A total of 9500(USD) in prize money is awarded to the Essay Competition winners with a guaranteed First prize of 4000(USD). The Travel Fellow(s) is given round-trip air-fare and a stipend to attend a major international architectural event in the Summer of 2009. The Architectural Design Fellow(s) is given a cash award.

Students are asked to submit a 500-word Essay Proposal in response to a posted Question. The 2009 PRIZE Question explores the concept of "Sustainable Architecture/Traditional Wisdom". The Proposals are due in December 1, 2008.

Approximately 25 student semifinalists are invited to expand their proposal into a 2500-word essay due in mid-February, 2009. From this pool, 5-7 Finalist essays are forwarded to the 2009 Berkeley Prize Jury, who will select First, Second, and Third place winners.

This year the Berkeley Prize Jury includes:

Gail Brager- Professor of Architecture, Building Science and Associate Director, Center for the Built Environment, University of California, Berkeley                                                                                
Chuck Davis- Senior Principal at EHDD Architecture, San Francisco, California; Fellow, American Institute of Architects
Tom Fisher- Professor and Dean, College of Design, University of Minnesota
Ahmad Hamid- Principal/Founder, Ahmad Hamid Architects, Cairo, Egypt; Professor of Architecture and Design at Modern Sciences and Arts University, Cairo; Faculty Member, American University, Cairo
John Ochsendorf- Associate Professor of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; MacArthur Foundation Fellow
The top Semifinalists are also offered the opportunity to compete for either the 2009 Berkeley Prize Travel Fellowship award or the Architectural Design Fellowship award.

In past years, Travel Fellows have participated in Habitat for Humanity in Lethoso, South Africa; the Global Studio in Johannesburg, South Africa; attended the Open Public Urban Spaces 2008 Annual Conference, Stavanger, Norway; the United Nations Habitat Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; the International Union of Architects Congress in Istanbul, Turkey; and FORUM BARCELONA in Barcelona, Spain.

Last year's Architectural Design Fellows, who were the first to receive this honor, are from the University of Minnesota, U.S.A.; and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Both teams are planning design competitions, underwritten by the BERKELEY PRIZE, to investigate how architects can respond to pressing social issues in their region.

The Berkeley Prize is consistently becoming more international. During the past ten years, over eight hundred students from 43 countries have participated in the various competitions.

The outreach of the Berkeley Prize expanded in 2003 with the Competition being named a Special Event of "World Heritage in the Digital Age," a Virtual Congress helping to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. This special recognition also highlights the fact that the entire operations of the PRIZE, including all submittals and judging are done on-line.

The Berkeley Prize is also the recipient of the 2002 American Institute of Architects' Education Honor Award.

The full agenda and history of the Berkeley Prize are best explained by visiting the website: This includes archives of all of the years' competitions. A summary article regarding the Berkeley Prize has also appeared in the environmental journal, PLACES ( ). Other references can be found on the website.


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