The Fifth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2003
Berkeley Prize 2003

Winning Essays

Winners of the Fifth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence were announced today by its organizing body, the Berkeley Prize Committee.

Prizes for outstanding essays submitted to the 2003 Competition are awarded to: 

First Prize

Philip Tidwell, Washington University, St. Louis, USA: "Place, Memory, and the Problem of the Architectural Image"
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Second Prize

Karen Weise, Yale University, USA: "Troublemakers"
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Third Prize

Ema Bonifacic, Architectural Association School of Architecture, UK: "A place for familiar rather than foreign visitors: Project for a Bus Shelter, Koshirakura, Niigata Prefecture, Japan"
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Priyanka Shah, Rizvi College of Architecture, India: "A Globe in My Bag"
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Other distinguished Finalists included: 

Virginia Bernard, Savannah College of Art and Design, USA; Swasti Bhattarai, Institute of Engineering, Nepal; Sara Hayden, University of California, Berkeley, USA; and Colin Rose, Cambridge University, UK. 

The 2003 Prize attracted 130 entries from students representing 31 countries and 81 individual undergraduate architecture programs on six continents. The students responded to the question:

When architects strive to create lasting monuments, some become part of the significant cultural heritage of our age. These successes seem to embody the most socially important values of a city, region, country, or even the world. Other attempts are only the reflection of the vanity of the designer or client and pass into oblivion. Worse, they become a permanent blight on the environment. As an architect, specifically, how can your work simultaneously embody the social values of one place, a particular culture, and universal human concerns?

This year's Berkeley Prize Jury included Brit Andresen, Professor of Architecture, University of Queensland (Australia); Francesco Bandarin, Director of UNESCO World Heritage, Paris (France) and Professor, School of Planning, Venice (Italy); Jo Noero, Professor or Architecture and Director of the School of Architecture and Planning, University of Cape Town (South Africa): and Brigitte Shim, Associate Professor of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto (Canada). The Jury chose the winning essays from a group of Finalists selected earlier by the Prize Committee. 

"On behalf of the Berkeley Prize Committee and Jury I wish to thank the students and the schools for their participation and encouragement," states Berkeley Prize Chair, UC Berkeley Professor of Architecture Raymond Lifchez. Professor Lifchez notes that there was an extraordinary diversity of responses to a difficult question that, in the words of Professor Bandarin, "required a fair deal of meditation." Professor Bandarin adds,

It's not easy these days to see a university focusing on issues of profound importance but apparently of little "market value" for the students. Reflecting on the meaning of our built environment is less popular than imposing "logo architecture" on the existing fabric, and I think that Berkeley has taken a counter-culture approach that is stimulating and provoking.

Professor Andresen was impressed with the "relaxed" voice of the participants, many of whom had, at the urging of the Berkeley Prize Committee, successfully eschewed an academic voice and introduced their own. 

These essays also use concrete examples, humour or wit as well as a point of view to illustrate their knowledge of architecture's relationship with the "surrounding pre-existences (sic)."

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. Other new aspects of this year's Competition included team entries, and an on-line bulletin board that encouraged interested participants to team up as co-authors, and/or, to simply air their views about various issues related to the question posed by the competition. 

The Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence, which was honored last year with an American Institute of Architects Education Award, is the centerpiece of an endowment established in 1996 in the Department of Architecture, College of Environmental Design, at the University of California Berkeley. Through essay writing and design competitions, the endowment aspires to encourage students to embrace social ideals as fundamental to making buildings of worth.

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