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

2015 Press Release

Berkeley, California, USA
24, April 2015

Benjamin Clavan, Architect, AIA






Winners of the seventeenth annual international 2015 BERKELEY PRIZE Competition are announced today by Professor Raymond Lifchez, Chair of the BERKELEY UNDERGRADUATE PRIZE FOR ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN EXCELLENCE (

Through two distinct competitions - the Essay Competition; and the Travel Fellowship Competition - the international BERKELEY PRIZE competition encourages undergraduate architecture students 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 2015 BERKELEY PRIZE focuses on the topic: “Architects Confront Poverty.”  148 undergraduate architecture students from 17 countries are participants in responding to this year’s Question:



The 2014 BERKELEY PRIZE recipients are:


Essay Competition

First Place Prize

Mr. Tarun Bhasin & Ms. Vineetha Nalla, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, India:  "There are No Slums : Mainstreaming an image with dignity. " (5000USD – Note: Mr. Bhasin has relinquished his equal portion of the cash award in order to accept one of this year’s PRIZE Travel Fellowships.)

Second Place Prize

Mr. Bernard AcellamMakerere University, Kampala, Uganda: Learning on the Hillside: Confronting Poverty with Education.” (4000USD)

Third Place Prize (tie)

Ms. Meghna Mohandas, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, India: Vermilion of hope. (3250USD)

Third Place Prize (tie)

Ms. Chandana Rajanna & Ms. Hanan QureshiIIT Roorkee, Roorkee, India: "Incremental Changes Bring Immense Happiness to the Urban Poor." (3250USD)

Fourth Place Prize

Ms. Eman Zied, Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport, Cairo, Egypt Parallel Practice: Bottom-Up Participatory Design in Impoverished Communities in Egypt." (2000USD)


All of the winning essays, plus the next 12 top-scoring essays are available to be read on the website on the “Reserve” page.


Utilizing the work of 63 Reviewers from around the world (see “Background” below), this year's four Essay Jurors are: 

ANANYA ROY is Professor of City and Regional Planning and Distinguished Chair in Global Poverty and Practice at the University of California, Berkeley. Roy's research is concerned with global urbanism and its persistent inequalities.  At UC Berkeley, Roy has received the highest teaching honors for her teaching which among other things focuses on a multidisciplinary and critical approach to the study of poverty. Roy is the author of several books including Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (Routledge, 2010) which received the Paul Davidoff book award for its advancement of social justice.

ARIF HASAN is an architect/planner in private practice in Karachi, Pakistan dealing with urban planning and development issues in general and of Asia and Pakistan in particular. He has been a consultant and advisor to many local and foreign CBOs, and national and international NGOs. Since 1981, he has been involved with the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) first as its Principal Consultant and currently the Chairperson of its Research and Training Institute. He is also the founder chairperson of the Urban Resource Centre (URC), Karachi.

TEDDY CRUZ is Principal of his research-based architectural practice, studio teddy cruz, located in San Diego, U.S.A.  From 1994 to 2000 he was founding director of the LA/LA Latin America / Los Angeles studio, an experimental workshop at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. From 2000-05, he was Associate Professor of Architecture at Woodbury University, where he began the Border Institute (BI) to further research on cross-border urban dynamics in the San Diego-Tijuana region. He is currently a Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego, where he co-founded the Center for Urban Ecologies in 2010.  He also co-founded the Blum Cross-Border Initiative with political theorist Fonna Forman in 2013. He is also presently a special advisor to the City of San Diego on Urban and Public Initiatives.

JOHN CARY is a connector, writer, speaker, and curator focused on social change, with an emphasis on design for the public good. John is a strategist for the $1,000,000 TED Prize and co-host of TEDCity2.0 event series. John is also an advisor to Aspen Global Health & Development; a member of the advisory board; and a member of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB)‘s Design Council. John’s first book, The Power of Pro Bono, was published in 2010, and his writing appears inThe New York Times, Fast Company magazine, and other publications. Cary is a member of the BERKELEY PRIZE Committee.

 (For full profiles of the Jurors, click here.)


Travel Fellowship Competition


This year’s winners are:

Mr. Tarun Bhasin from the School of Architecture and Planning, Bhopal, India.  Tarun will travel from Bhopal to Cusco, Peru to participate in the “Andean Immersion” program run by International Volunteering HQ that includes work on community construction projects and home-stay with a village family.

Ms. Jennisse Schule from Montana State University, Bozeman, U.S.A. will travel from Montana to Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A. to participate in a Habitat for Humanity Anchorage program in building affordable housing for families in need.

Ms. Andreea Movila from the Facultatea de Arhitectura G.M. Cantacuzino, Podu Ros, Iasi, Romania will travel on three distinct trips: from Bucharest to Prague to attend the Breaking the Chains of Poverty program at the Summer School on New Development Cooperation; then from Bucharest to Rosia Montana, Romania to take part as a volunteer for the “Adopt a House” project there; and finally from Bucharest to Salzburg, Austria to attend and possibly present a paper at the Absolute Poverty in Europe Conference .


(All of the students receive a cash stipend of 3700USD sufficient to cover round-trip airfare, daily expenses, and program costs for their specific travel plans.  Click here for the complete proposals from the winners.)


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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, 2015. 

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The 2015 BERKELEY PRIZE is dedicated to:

To architects and allied professionals around the world working to insure a better built environment for those living in poverty by teaming with governmental authorities, non-governmental organizations, and directly with the users in the design and building process.




Watch for the announcement of the 2016 BERKELEY PRIZE on

September 15, 2015.




The BERKELEY PRIZE - How it Works

Each year, the BERKELEY 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 63 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.  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.

During the past seventeen years, 1870 students have submitted essays and proposals, representing dozens of schools of architecture from 62 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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