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

2020 Competition Results

Twenty-second Year




Winners of the twenty-second annual BERKELEY PRIZE Essay Competition are announced by University of California, Berkeley Professor Emeritus of Architecture and City & Regional Planning Raymond Lifchez, Chair of the international 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 2020 BERKELEY PRIZE focuses on the topic: “DESIGNING CIVIC BUILDINGS: The Architect Works With A Team.”  79 Essay Competition submittals written by 158 individual undergraduate students collaborating in two-person teams from 24 countries were received in response to this year’s Question: 





This year’s topic focuses on how civic architecture provides for the health, safety, education, intellectual life and well-being of the community.  Decide which of these services interests you the most.  Go out into the city in which your school is located with a team member from another academic discipline and find two public buildings that you feel are especially successful for the type of service you have selected.  Use these buildings as the basis for your answer to the Question. 

Special Team Requirements This Year:  BP2020 requires that undergraduate architecture students team up with another undergraduate student from outside of architecture studies in researching and writing the Proposal and Essay.  




The Essay competition timeline started on 15 September 2019 with all submissions due on 1 February 2020.  Since then, the unprecedented upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the entire academic landscape.  The potential longer-term effects of the pandemic on higher education generally and architecture programs specifically are still unclear. 

In the long-term, the PRIZE hopes to adjust its outreach to respond to any new realities.  For the moment and as a direct reflection of the hardships caused by both the virus and subsequent population lockdowns worldwide, this year’s PRIZE awards have been expanded.  

Each year, the PRIZE Committee and the Jurors look to identify the most outstanding work among the many excellent essays and the research that those essays describe.  This year, all of the submissions are honored:  

  • For the eight Finalists, there is the “best of the best” First, Second and Third Prizes, and five Honorable Mentions totaling 35,000USD. 
  • In addition, and in lieu of applying for this year’s necessarily cancelled BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship Competition, all of the eighteen Semifinalists receive a cash award of 1000USD. 

In total, 52 students are recognized and honored for their 26, two-member team essays. The winning teams are described below.              



First Place Prize 

Rhiddhit Paul (Architecture program) and Abhradeep Chakraborty (Planning program) at the School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, India for: Nests for a Phoenix: Building Life After Death” (9000USD)



(Two of the four authors' illustrations for their essay.)

Second Place Prize

Poonam Parikh (Architecture) and Khushali Haji (Urban Design) at the C.E.P.T. University, Ahmedabad, India for: "Ahmedabad: Growing through a History of Community and Conflict" (7500USD)


Third Place Prize

Michael Tsang (Architecture) and Elisa Ynaraja Rodriguez (Civil Engineering) at the University of Bath, Bath, UK for"The Storytellers of Bristol: An Exploration of Community Created by Theatre” (6000USD)

Honorable Mention

Claudio Cabana (Architecture/Environmental Design) and Henrike Scholz (International Relations) at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada for: “The Learned City: Civic Buildings, Information Inequality, and the Digital Divide” (2500USD)


Honorable Mention

Vladimir Kositsyn (Architecture) and Zhenya Nasledskova (Environmental Design) at the Moscow Architectural Institute, Moscow, Russian Federation for: “Moscow Civic Buildings and Their Variability through the Prism of Time” (2500USD)


Honorable Mention

Elizabeth Njeri Mugo (Architecture) at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Stephanie Brenda Wanjiru Munene (Law) at Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya for: “For the love of Museums” (2500USD)


Honorable Mention

Madhura Vaze (Architecture) at B.K.P.S. College of Architecture and Nabha Joshi (Economics) at the S.P College, Pune, India for: “Public Markets: Building Community, Building Economy" (2500USD)


Honorable Mention

Jingni Wu (Art) at Beihang University and Xinxing Chen (Architecture) at the Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, China for: “Elder-Friendly Community Building: Civic Space Creation under the Renovation of the Hutong Area” (2500USD)



All of the winning essays, plus the next 10 top-scoring essays are now available

to be read on the website on the BERKELEY PRIZE “Reserve” page,








Utilizing the preliminary review work of 65 Committee Members from around the world (see “Background” below), this year's four Essay Jurors are: 


Dr. Karen Trapenberg Frick, United States: Associate Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design, Berkeley (U.S.A.); and Director of the University of California Transportation Center (UCTC). Her current research focuses on the politics and implementation of transportation infrastructure. This includes a book published on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s planning and development: Remaking the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge: A Case of Shadowboxing with Nature (2015). 

Naomichi Kurata, Japan:  Architect and Urban Designer; Principal, Studio URBAN HOUSE, Architecture and Planning, Tokyo; and Professor Emeritus of Architecture and Urban Design at Kogakuin University, Tokyo.  He has also taught architecture and urban design at Waseda University, Hosei University, Tsukuba University, Hokkaido University, Kanagawa University, Musashino Art University, and other universities. His research and practice focus on urban design methodology, planning and design of public spaces, sustainable community, downtown revitalization and campus planning.

Dr. Eric Klinenberg, United States: Helen Gould Shepard Professor in the Social Sciences and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, New York (U.S.A.). He also serves as Research Director of Rebuild by Design, which began as a federal competition to generate innovative infrastructure plans for the region affected by Hurricane Sandy, and now helps cities around the world transform to address climate change. In 2019, Klinenberg was named a Knight Foundation Public Space Fellow, in recognition of his leadership in the creation of innovative urban public spaces. His most recent book is Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life (2018).

Dr. Malini Krishnankutty, India: Architect and Planner with wide experience in development and regional planning in India; and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the India Institute of Technology (IIT) Centre for Urban Science and Engineering, Mumbai. Over the last two decades, she has served as a consultant on several major urban planning projects, including the original Draft Development Plan for Mumbai 2014-34, as well as the Regional Plan for Mumbai Metropolitan Region 2016-36. Since 2008, she has co-initiated a community of sustainability practitioners, Gubbi Alliance for Sustainable Habitat.  Dr. Krishnankitty is a member of the PRIZE Committee.


For fuller profiles of the Jurors, see:





Watch for the announcement of the 2021 BERKELEY PRIZE

15 September 2020




Travel Fellowship Competition

(Cancelled for 2020)


Traditionally, all Essay Competition semifinalists are eligible to submit proposals for the Travel Fellowship.  Selected students receive a $3700 stipend sufficient for round-trip airfare, daily expenses, and program costs for their travel plans.  The Travel Fellowship requires a written and illustrated report at the conclusion of the travel. These appear on the website.

The BERKELEY PRIZE 2020 Travel Fellowship Competition is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The crisis has eliminated the purpose of the Travel Fellowship awards, shuttering almost all hands-on social architecture programs, conferences, etc. globally and severely limiting or stopping travel between nations.  These cancellations and restrictions are almost certain to continue for at least the upcoming months when almost all of the travel might have occurred.

All BP2020 Semifinalists are awarded a 500USD Honorarium in lieu of the opportunity to propose a Travel Fellowship plan.  It is our hope that, if at all possible, the Honorarium will be used to help with a perhaps smaller architectural travel experience when conditions again permit such journeys away from the students’ local community. 



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 25-30 semifinalists are selected as particularly promising by the PRIZE Committee, a group of 64 international architects, architectural educators, social scientists, writers, and general thinkers.  The semifinalists are then asked to submit a 2,500-word Essay expanding on their proposals. 

The Committee then selects 8-9 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 twenty years, the PRIZE has received 2541 essays and travel and other proposals, representing 3098 individual students from dozens of schools of architecture in 79 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 their full submittals; archives of past competitions; information on Committee Members; and links to other articles on the social art of architecture are all posted at:







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