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

2016 Competition Results

Berkeley, California, U.S.A.
17, April 2016


Benjamin Clavan, Architect, AIA








Architects Confront Homelessness



Winners of the eighteenth annual international BERKELEY PRIZE Competition for 2016 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 2016 BERKELEY PRIZE focuses on the topic: “SHELTERING THOSE IN NEED: Architects Confront Homelessness.”  102 undergraduate architecture students from 20 countries are participants in responding to this year’s Question:


(This year, in two parts)

Who is doing what in your community to confront the issue of the men, women, young people, and children without any shelter? 

As both an individual and as a professional, how do you see yourself assisting in providing shelter to those in need?


The 2016 BERKELEY PRIZE recipients are:


Essay Competition

First Place Prize

Ms. VishnuPriya Viswanathan, Faculty of Architecture, Manipal Unviersity, Manipal, Karnataka, India: “Paving Better Paths for Little Feet." (6000USD)

Second Place Prize

Ms. Zahra Mosaddegh Akrami and Mr. Ali Tabatabaei Ghomi, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tehran University of Art, Keraj, Iran: When Local Architecture Provides a Shelter.” (5000USD - Shared)

Third Place Prize

Mr. Ayushman Kedia, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India: From Squatters of Threat to Homes of Hope. (3000USD)

Fourth Place Prize

Mr. Julian Daly and Rebecca Sherouse, Department of Architecture, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, U.S.A. Without a Home – Migrant Farmworkers in California." (2000USD - Shared)


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


Utilizing the work of 64 Reviewers from around the world (see “Background” below), this year's four Essay Jurors are: 

SAM DAVIS is author of three books on housing, The Form of HousingThe Architecture of Affordable Housing, and Designing for the Homeless: Architecture that Works.  He is a principal at Sam Davis Architecture (formerly Davis & Joyce Architects), a Berkeley, California, U.S.A. firm with four decades of housing experience.  He is Professor Emeritus of Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley where he taught from 1971 until 2009. He served as the Interim Dean of the School of Social Welfare on the Berkeley campus (2011-12), as Interim Dean of The College of Environmental Design (2008-09), as Chair of the Department of Architecture (1993-96), and as Associate Dean of the College of Environmental Design (1998-2002)

CHRIS HERRING s a doctoral candidate of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he’s affiliated with the Global Metropolitan Studies Program and Center for Ethnographic Research. He is an editor and co-founder of the new Berkeley Journal of Sociology: an online-first graduate run publication aimed at broadening the interpretive range and prospective application of social research to political struggles, emerging cultural trends, and alternative futures in the public sphere. Chris is a proponent and practitioner of community action research, and much of his work is in collaboration with the organizations and activists he works alongside to both better understand, but also create positive change for, the poorest residents of the city. In New Orleans he assisted in drafting sections of the Unified New Orleans Plan for the Broadmoor Community. 

KYOHEI SAKAGUCHI is a Japanese artist and architect, concentrating on vernacular architecture, and applying lessons learned from homeless populations in Japan, and from Japanese Buddhism, to housing, energy consumption, and ways of living.  His principal focus is the Zero Yen Project, or the Zero Yen House. He is a believer in practical and applied research, and spent a great deal of time interviewing and learning from homeless populations in Japan, eventually applying techniques he observed to construct cheap, durable, and portable housing.  He travels throughout Japan and is a regular lecturer on topics stemming from his first book, Zero Yen House.  He is currently working on his second book, entitled How to Build an Independent Nation, which is due for publication in 2016.

FRIEDNER D. WITTMAN has forty years' experience in community planning for health and social services, environmental design, and architectural programming.  Much of this experience involves development of housing to serve homeless people with alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems.  From 1987 through 1996, Dr. Wittman was a consultant in architecture and community planning to a federal 43-city demonstration program to provide services to homeless people with alcohol and drug problems.  The program, known as the McKinney Act Program for the Homeless was carried out by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  Findings from this research influenced policies and concepts regarding design and operation of housing for homeless people in general, and specifically for disabled homeless people with special needs for AOD problems.  He founded and directed the Community Prevention Planning Program at the Institute for the Study of Social Change, UC Berkeley from 1988 through 2011. Currently he is president of CLEW Associates, a Berkeley, California, U.S.A. consulting firm he founded in 1988 that specializes in architectural programming and environmental design to support delivery of community health, safety, and social services.  Fried is a BERKELEY PRIZE Committee Member.

 (For full profiles of the Jurors, see the 2016 Jury Page)


Travel Fellowship Competition


This year’s winners are:


Ms. Nadia Asali from Birzeit University, Ramallah, Birzeit, State of Palestine and Ms. Meghana Hegde from Dr. Bhanuben Nanavti College of Architecture, Pune, Maharashtra, India who both, independently, proposed to travel to Berlin, Germany to attend the Technische Universitat Berlin’s Design-Build Summer School program, “Community Spaces with Refugees in Berlin.”

(See more information on the program.) 

Mr. Vaibhav Saxena from the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra Department of Architecture, Mesra, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India to travel to Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. to participate in the Immersion Program at JOIN: Connecting the Street to a Home; and to volunteer at Dignity Village, a Portland-recognized encampment of homeless people.

(See more information on JOIN here, and see more information on Dignity Village here.

Ms. Atianna Cordova from the Louisiana State University (LSU) and A&M College School of Architecture in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A. to attend LSU’s Academic Study Abroad Program, “Haiti: Cultural Sustainability.”  One of several aims of the program is to examine the sheltering strategies/resources that have been employed to assist those affected by the 2010 earthquake.

(See more information on the program here.) 


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


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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, 2016.                        

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Watch for the announcement of the 2017 BERKELEY PRIZE on

September 15, 2016.




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 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.  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 eighteen years, 1969 UPDATE 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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