The Eleventh Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2009
Berkeley Prize 2009

Winning Proposals

(May 22, 2009) The University of California, Berkeley - The winners of the Sixth Annual BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship Competition are announced today by Professor Raymond Lifchez, Chair of the Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence.  This is a special opportunity for the students to explore a part of the world and/or participate in an organized project that will assist them in gaining a deeper understanding of the social art of architecture. This year the BERKELEY PRIZE Committee has awarded three Travel Fellowships.


The first 2009 BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship is awarded to:

Ms. Hajir Alttahir,  Manchester School of Architecture, UK; for travel to Article 25 Build, Maputo, Mozambique or Lesotho

Read Travel Fellowship Proposal »

"British by birth and Iraqi by heritage, my outlook is the culmination of disparate ideas and cultures. I was born and raised in London, England. My family, proudly Arab, left their country to pursue university educations only to find they could not return to their homeland as a consequence of political instability. Accidentally displaced, they sought to impart the importance of identity and tradition to my generation. Inadvertently, this has become one of my interests within my studies.

Living in London was an exhilarating experience. The city provided copious opportunities to explore urban occurrences, hosting a wealth of architectural treasures and unique places to discover. Home to a melting pot of races and nationalities, these many iterations of the city fuelled my interest in architecture and urbanism. Through a series of studio projects based in various European countries and self-directed travelling, my fascination in context driven architecture has led me to studying emerging topography this year. It is my belief that design generated by an exhaustive analytical process of the surrounding conditions and cultures provides a more accepted built environment, which successfully encourages interaction and growth within a community.

Whilst I appreciate the artistry of the buildings that grace various journals, I find myself drawn to the innovative ideas used in humanitarian architecture. Perhaps my interest stems from an intent to improve the quality of people’s lives but I feel the resulting interventions are a testimony to what we can achieve, regardless of the restrictions and limited means that typically accompany such projects. 

Following the British system, at the end of this academic year, I will enter into a yearlong internship before continuing with the remaining two years of my undergraduate studies. The desire to develop socially responsible and sustainable architecture is something I wish to pursue in my studies and future internships."


The second 2009 BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship is awarded to:

Mr. Dominic Mathew, Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, India; for travel to the Auroville Earth Institute, Auroville, India

Read Travel Fellowship Proposal »

"I was raised and educated in the capital city of India, New Delhi. Growing up in the city I was never really exposed to architecture in its truest sense, but there was always this curiosity to explore new nooks and corners and soak in the history of the old ones. I developed a taste in the art of buildings on my frequent trips to my birthplace, Kerala which has a rich history in traditional building practices. Lego blocks always interested me in my childhood (they still do!) and I remember spending hours building my very own structures with it! Books and music have been constant companions helping me unwind and focus. Studying architecture in the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra opened my eyes to a new vista of art and creativity that I had never encountered before, now I see buildings with a different eye embracing it wholly as part of the landscape rather than viewing them as a separate entity or structure. Further through my course I hope to learn more about building practices that have become lost in time and about socially relevant techniques in architecture."


The third 2009 BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship is awarded to:

Mr. Tyler Rozicki, Dalhousie University, Canada; for travel to the Rebuilding of the Cotswold Canals, Gloucestershire, UK

Read Travel Fellowship Proposal »

"I remember in my last year of high school my art teacher recommended architecture as a good option for me, but when she informed me it was seven more years of school I said "no thanks".  That was seven years ago, and this year I enrolled in architecture school. Evidently she was right, and somewhere along the line I developed an appetite for learning.

I grew up in a small northern Ontario city in Canada and have come to enjoy cold weather, snow, and the winter season. Climactic distinctions make our continents and cities unique, and today I find it inspiring to explore architectural concepts that celebrate these differences.  I appreciate low tech passive solutions for the nuances of regional climates - probably because I'm not very good at math - but also because I think most people would rather open a window to let in a cool breeze than turn on a stuffy air conditioning. Simple, but good.

Studying art and design in Toronto and Guelph Ontario during my first undergrad made me want to experience the pictures I saw in history books in real life. Traveling and urban exploration ensued. Most recently the industrial buildings and landscape of Halifax lured me to the Canadian east cost where I'm studying architecture at Dalhousie University, there is an honesty in this port city that I find refreshing. Watching trains and boats ship and receive fuel, food, and waste is a reality of today's North America, and its truly awesome to be confronted with the scale of this operation by massive boats carrying cargo. I'd rather see it full on than pretend it doesn't happen.

I appreciate architecture that matures with time by developing a patina demonstrating its history, and one day I'd like to make buildings like this. At present I'm working towards [re]establishing an environmentally respectful brick masonry architecture in Canada that uses passive solar attributes and other values that are inherent to the material. I keep a blog on the subject at http://brickmasonry.blogspot.com/ ."


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