To encourage the study of architecture as a social art, the Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence endowment was created in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design.
Every year, the Prize Committee chooses a subject that is essential to the understanding of people’s interactions with the built environment as the theme of the Essay Competition. On this page, the Committee asks a question about the subject.
Students enrolled in any authorized undergraduate architecture degree or diploma program anywhere in the globe are encouraged to submit a 500-word essay proposal in English in response to the Question. Qualified students may also form teams of two and submit ideas with undergraduates from related arts and social sciences departments. (See the To Enter page for particular annual criteria.)
The Prize Committee selects about 25-28 essay ideas from the pool of submissions as especially promising. Semifinalists are chosen from among the student teams. Semifinalists will be asked to write a 2,500-word essay in English, elaborating on their ideas.
Five to eight of the finest essays are chosen by a panel of readers comprised of Prize Committee members, and these Finalist articles are sent to an international jury of academics and architects for selection of the winners.
All Semifinalists are also asked to submit a proposal for a BERKELEY PRIZE summer Fellowship at the end of the Essay Competition submissions. The opportunity this year is a Community Service Fellowship. In early 2022, details for this Fellowship, which is currently in its second year, will be released.
QUESTION for the participation in Berkeley’s International Undergraduate Prize:
You’ve been tasked with designing a housing project for the poor in your neighbourhood. What do you need to know to ensure that your design reflects the lives and ambitions of people for whom it is created, as well as that the project becomes a proud, long-term part of the fabric of your community?
The benefit of Berkeley’s International Undergraduate Prize 2022
There is a total prize pool of 35,000 USD, with a minimum first prize of 8,500 USD. The Jury will decide how to distribute the remaining funds.
Eligible teams for Berkeley’s International Undergraduate Prize 2020
The competition is available to all current full-time undergraduate architecture degree students or undergraduates majoring in architecture at recognized architectural institutions throughout the globe. Students pursuing a Diploma in Architecture who have not yet finished their studies are also eligible.
This year’s unique team opportunity encourages and advises that you form a partnership with a full-time undergraduate social sciences student at your college or university or an equally accredited college or university in your community. A maximum of two students may cooperate. Their Proposal and prospective Essay must include both of their names. If a reward is given, it must be divided equally.
If you are an undergraduate architecture student who wants to submit a proposal and possible essay without the assistance of a social science team member, you may do so. However, you are not allowed to form a team with another architecture student this year.
Essays must be written in the English language.
Finalists will be asked to provide copies of real school transcripts as evidence of current enrollment. If you were an undergraduate student on September 15, 2021, but graduated before the prizes were to be awarded, you are still eligible to compete.
Time table for Berkeley’s International Undergraduate Prize
September 15, 2021
The essay competition for the year 2022 has begun.
November 1, 2021
(Stage One) An essay proposal of 500 words is required.
Semifinalists for the essay competition will be revealed.
February 1, 2022
Essay Semifinalists’ 2,500-word essays are due in Stage Two.
February 8, 2022
Launch of the Essay Semifinalists’ Community Service Fellowship Competition.
Finalists of the essay competition will be revealed.
March 12, 2022
Proposals for Community Service Fellowships are due.
The winners of the essay contest and the Community Service Fellowship were revealed.