The Annual International Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence
Berkeley Prize 2024

Press Release

Berkeley, California, USA
20, April 2013

Benjamin Clavan, Architect, AIA





Winners of the Fifteenth Annual international 2013 BERKELEY PRIZE Competition are announced today by Professor Raymond Lifchez, Chair of the BERKELEY UNDERGRADUATE PRIZE FOR ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN EXCELLENCE (

Through three distinct competitions - the Essay Competition; the Travel Fellowship Competition; and new this year, the Teaching Fellowship Competition - the international BERKELEY PRIZE competition encourages undergraduate architecture students and their teachers worldwide to go into their communities for the purpose of thinking and writing about issues central to the understanding of the social art of architecture

The 2013 BERKELEY PRIZE focuses on the topic: The Architect and the Accessible City. 152 architecture students from 26 countries responded to this year’s Question:




The 2013 BERKELEY PRIZE recipients are:

Essay Competition

First Place Prize: Sophia Bannert, studying at University of Lincoln, United Kingdom for her essay, "A Day in the Life of a Wheelchair User: Navigating Lincoln" (4500USD).

Second Place Prize: Faiq Mari, studying at Birzeit University, Palestine for his essay, "A Resilient Past and a Promising Future; Disability in Ramallah" (3500USD).

Third Place Prize: Slavka Gavencha from Bulgaria, studying at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom for her essay, "Access Denied?" (2250USD).

Third Place Prize: Caitlin Copeland, studying at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom for her essay,"The Disabled Traveler in Edinburgh" (2250USD).

This year's Essay Jury includes: 

CHRIS DOWNEY, Architect, Chris Downey Architecture for the Blind, San Francisco, California, USA, and Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design, specializes in projects for or significant to the blind and visually impaired.

DEEPAK K.C, (Khatri Chhetri) is widely acknowledged as the first wheelchair-using architect in Nepal. He is an active leader in the disability movement and a founding member of Independent Living Center Kathmandu.

RACHNA KHARE, Ph.D.,  Associate Dean and Professor, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, India, and coordinator of the Centre for Human Centric Research (CHCR), has lectured and published extensively on the subject of Inclusive Design worldwide.

CAMILLA RYHL, Ph.D., Professor at the Bergen School of Architecture in Bergen, Norway, and Senior Researcher at the Danish Building Research Institute, Aalborg University, Denmark where she heads the Institute’s research in the field of accessibility and inclusive design. 

(Click here for full profiles of the Jurors)


Travel Fellowship Competition

This year’s winners are:

Malvika Mehta from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, India.  Malvika will travel from Delhi to Avila, Spain to attend the “Tourism for All” conference, where she will potentially present a paper; and then on to Lyon, France where she will serve as a volunteer at the Paralympics. (For more event information, see Tourism and Paralympics).

Mandy Oeni from the National University of Singapore.  Mandy will travel from Singapore to Chicago, USA to attend the “Spontaneous Interventions: Design actions for the common good” exhibition; and then on to New York, USA to participate as a volunteer at the “FIGMENT” participatory art festival, and to study universally accessible places in the area.  (For more event information, see Spontaneous Interventions and FIGMENT)

Hanan Qureshi from the India Institute of Technology Roorkee, India.  Hanan will travel from Roorkee to Vancouver, Canada on a self-directed research trip arranged, in part, with faculty from the University of British Columbia Department of Sociology to study successes in accessible design throughout the city of Vancouver. 

Ben Wokorach from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.  Ben will travel from Kampala to London, United Kingdom to participate in the Architectural Association summer workshop, “Campaigning Architecture.” (For more information on the workshop, see Campaigning Architecture).

(All of the students receive round-trip airfare, a stipend for daily expenses, and program costs for their specific travel plans. Click here to see the complete proposals from the winners.)

BERKELEY PRIZE Committee members RODDY CREEDON, Principal, Allied Architecture+Design, San Francisco and Lecturer in Architecture, U.C. Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design; and HELAINE KAPLAN PRENTICE, ASLA, partner in Prentice & Prentice, Inc. Design Consultants, Lecturer at U.C. Berkeley, and  Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Community Innovation at Berkeley’s Institute of Urban and Regional Development, gave special assistance in selecting the Travel Fellows.


Teaching Fellowship Competition

Starting in 2013, the BERKELEY PRIZE Committee broadens the scope of the activities of the PRIZE by offering faculty who teach undergraduate architectural design worldwide an academic-year Teaching Fellowship. The primary goal for the BERKELEY PRIZE Teaching Fellowship is to focus students’ attention on the social and physical characteristics of the proposed users of the buildings and spaces they design: the social art of architecture.

Under the large umbrella covered by the term Universal Design (which has evolved from studies in "Barrier Free Design", "Accessible Design", "Transgenerational Design", and "Adaptable Design", and which is now considered to be synonymous with "Design for All" and "Inclusive Design,"), faculty are asked how specifically they would adapt their studio classes to place emphasis on design that is inclusive of the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference.

(For more background, see, and Inclusive Design Research Centre)

There are five inaugural Teaching Fellowships awarded this year:

Allan K. Birabi, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Makerere University Department of Architecture and Physical Planning, Kampala, Uganda, for the purpose of teaching aspects of Universal Design in the Foundation Year of the B.Arch. program at his school.

Eve A. Edelstein, Ph.D., Associate AIA, Associate Professor, University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Tucson, USA, for her course, “Expanding the Universe of Design: Applying a Neuro-Architectural Process to Create Accessible Cities,” in collaboration with the University of Arizona Disability Resource Center.

Ajay Khare, Ph.D., Founder-Director of the School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, India, for his course, “Universal Design for Cultural Interface at Sacred Site of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, India”

Alex MacLaren, RIBA, Design Tutor, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), Edinburgh, United Kingdom, for her courses on ”Social Housing” and “Civic Futures”.

Josh Safdie, Associate AIA, Adjunct Faculty Member, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), and Director of the Studio at the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), both in Boston, USA, for his courses to be taught at MassArt, “Urban Visionaries: Sustainable City/Inclusive City”, and “The 100 Acres: Housing for All.”

(All Teaching Fellows receive a 7500USD award.  For complete applications of the selected 2013 BERKELEY PRIZE Teaching Fellows, including course syllabi, click here).

BERKELEY PRIZE Committee Member, Elaine Ostroff, Hon. AIA, Co-founder, Adaptive Environments, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, who wrote an Introductory Essay for this year’s BERKELEY PRIZE competition and for whom the inaugural Teaching Fellowship Competition is dedicated, gave special assistance in selecting the Teaching Fellows.

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The Travel Fellowship requires a written and illustrated report. These will appear on the website in late Summer and early Fall, 2013.  Examples of student work from the Teaching Fellowship studio courses will appear at the end of each of their semesters during the 2013-2014 academic year.

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The 2013 BERKELEY PRIZE is dedicated to:

The United Nation's Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and the World Health Organization which is helping to promote and implement the Convention.

Watch for the announcement of the 2014 BERKELEY PRIZE on
September 15, 2013.



The BERKELEY PRIZE - How it Works

Each year, the PRIZE Committee poses a Question on the competition website.  Students enrolled in any undergraduate architecture program throughout the world or those in collateral disciplines teamed with such students are invited to submit a 500-word essay proposal in English responding to the Question. 

From this pool of essays, approximately 25 are selected as particularly promising by the PRIZE Committee, a group of, currently, 64 international architects, architectural educators, social scientists, writers, and general thinkers.  The 25 semifinalists are then asked to submit a 2,500-word Essay expanding on their proposals. 

The Committee then selects five to eight of the best Essays and sends these finalists on to a jury of international architects and academics to select the winners.  The BERKELEY PRIZE Essay Competition is announced, papers submitted, and reader- and jury-reviewed all online. 

The Essay semifinalists are also offered the opportunity to participate in the BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship Competition.  Simultaneously, faculty at accredited schools of architecture worldwide who teach undergraduate architecture students are invited to apply for a year-long Teaching Fellowship.

For the Travel Fellowship, students are asked to submit a proposal of how a given architectural travel opportunity will help them capitalize on the research they did for their Essay and further their long-term academic and professional pursuits.

For the Teaching Fellowship, faculty members are asked to describe how they would integrate the principles of Universal Design into their ongoing studio classes for the academic year, including outreach into their local communities.

During the past fifteen years, 1578 students have submitted essays and proposals, representing dozens of schools of architecture from 61 countries.  In recognition of these efforts, the BERKELEY PRIZE is the recipient of the 2008 American Institute of Architects Collaborative Achievement Honor Award; and the 2002 American Institute of Architects' Education Honor Award. 

The BERKELEY PRIZE has also garnered international acclaim, not the least reason for which is its complete embracing of digital technology.  In partial recognition of this outreach, the 2003 BERKELEY PRIZE competition was 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.

Winners' biographies, photographs, and full submittals; archives of past competitions; and links to other articles on the social art of architecture are posted at 

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