|The Thirteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2011|
Preeti Talwai Proposal
The InFORMal: Designing to Celebrate the Places Less Examined
Background: Through my Berkeley Prize essay, the aspect of “Valuing the Sacred” that I identified was the use of public, communal space, People's Park, as a sacred gathering spot for Berkeley’s homeless population. Through this exploration, I engaged with the dichotomies of formal and informal spaces, the evolution of public space, and adaptation of urban space by disenfranchised user groups. By exploring sacred space from a nontraditional stance instead of as an official religious typology, I developed a unique design lens that I now wish to carry forth in this Design Fellowship Competition. The adviser for this competition will be Professor Andrew Shanken, Associate Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley.
Through my contest, I want students to analyze informal uses of space by disenfranchised social groups, grappling with the socioeconomic, political issues surrounding these unique areas. Deeper theoretical points are to: (1) probe the architect’s role in designing for community and educating the public (2) question the formalization of space, and (3) consider how design may privilege or harm sectors of society. Resulting designs can raise awareness for the disenfranchised while recasting overlooked spaces as valuable and sacred.
Students would work either individually or in teams of up to 3 on a design problem. Because collaboration is a significant component of any successful architectural venture, leading to multifaceted solutions, students will be encouraged to work in groups. However, because the intimate and personal connections that are embedded in an individual’s experience of a space are also indispensable, I would provide this option as well.
Judging: The entries will be judged on the following criteria -How compelling are the chosen space, user group, and approach, and how well does the proposal/ design examine informal uses of space? -How much potential do the proposal/ design have to be developed and ultimately carried out in a community? -How thoroughly do the research methodologies probe the needs of the user group and the area’s larger contextual issues? -How well does the scheme incorporate the disenfranchised users into the design process?
Awards: First place - $1000; Second place - $750, Third Place - $500
Jury: With their agreement, I would invite the following faculty to judge this competition: 1. Andrew Shanken, Associate Professor of Architecture, UC Berkeley (also the advisor) 2. Margaret Crawford, Professor of Architecture, UC Berkeley 3. Ananya Roy, Professor of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
Publicity: The competition would be publicized throughout UC Berkeley via listservs and fliers, and in classes and at events. San Francisco’s many design firms, especially those interested in architectural activism, would also be notified either electronically or personally. In addition, the assistance of Berkeley professors would be requested in contacting other universities’ architecture departments to widen the prospective applicant pool. Professionals’ support might be sparked by several incentives. Firstly, the collection of entries could create an encyclopedia of overlooked areas, specifically since high-budget urban architecture often wins attention over more vernacular structures in the Bay Area. Also, by addressing the universal issues of informality and disenfranchisement, entries might spark interdisciplinary interest in new social issues and user groups. As both the urban fabric and architectural professions evolve rapidly, this competition would enable both students and professionals to redefine their social roles.
Documentation: All participants will register for the competition and upload their work on a website, with an identification number to preserve anonymity. The work, numbers and locations of participants will be archived for the Berkeley Prize. In addition, judges will be requested to write a brief overall reflection on the judging process for both stages of the competition.
Schedule: Mid-April to May 2011 – Widespread publicity for the competition will take place. May 2011 – Competition will be launched on its own website. Early August 2011 – Stage 1 Proposals Due. Mid-September 2011 – Finalists announced. Mid-November 2011 – Stage 2 Designs Due. Late December 2011 – Winners Announced.
Additional Help and InformationAre you in need of assistance? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.