The Eighth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2006
Berkeley Prize 2006

The 2006 Essay Prize Competition

An essay contest in Three stages open to all current full-time registered students in an undergraduate architecture degree program, undergraduates majoring in architecture, or diploma students in accredited schools of architecture worldwide. 6,000USD Purse.


The Berkeley Prize Undergraduate Essay Competition was established in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley to promote architecture as a social art through research, writing, and criticism: traditionally under-represented aspects of the architecture curriculum. Each year, the Prize Committee selects a topic important to the understanding of the interaction of people and the built world. This year the topic is:Children and the City.

The Committee then poses a Question on this web site related to the topic. Students enrolled in any undergraduate architecture program throughout the world are invited to submit a 500-word essay proposal responding to the Question. From this pool of essays, approximately 25 are selected by the Prize Committee as particularly promising. The 25 selected students become Semi-Finalists.

These Semi-Finalists are then asked to submit a 2,500-word essay expanding on their proposals. A group of readers, composed of Committee members and invited colleagues, selects five-to-eight of the best essays and sends these Finalists on to a jury of international academics and architects to select the winners.

Starting this year, all Semi-Finalists will also be invited to participate in the Third Annual Berkeley Prize Travel Fellowship Competition. This year's Travel Fellowship winner will receive airfare and a stipend to attend and participate in the United Nations Habitat World Urban Forum in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in June 2006. The stipend will also allow the winner to explore the architecture of the city and its environs.

Architectural history, theory and practice are rich with ideas and actual buildings that signify the importance of architecture as a social art. In addressing the Question posed by the Berkeley Prize 2006 Essay Competition, you will consider this legacy and its relevance to you as future architects.


This year's Berkeley Prize is dedicated to GROWING UP IN CITIES (GUiC). The GUiC Programme aims, on a world-wide basis, to put children's ideas for improving their communities into action and to educate the public and urban officials about urban issues related to children. It encourages the participation of young people in research, evaluation and decision-making processes. It specifically promotes engaging children in practical projects.  The original GUiC Programme was initiated in 1970 by UNESCO and co-ordinated by Kevin Lynch, one of the United States' premiere urban designers. The project began as an effort to understand: 

  • What it means for children to live in urban areas;
  • How the process of urbanization effects their lives;
  • What constitutes an urban neighborhood that would be a good and positive place for growing children; and
  • How should children be supported and nurtured so that they develop into constructive, contributing members of civil society.

In 1996, the Programme was adopted by UNESCO's Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme. Under this umbrella, the GUiC Programme developed a comprehensive, world-wide research effort. Since 1996, the original sites of the GUiC Programme have been revisited and a number of new project-sites have been added.

GROWING UP IN CITIES enlists the energy, ideas, and hope of young people to evaluate their own circumstances, define priorities, and create change. It also enables municipal governments and child advocates to implement the participation principles of: 

1) The Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [Link]

2) The Habitat Agenda adopted by 178 governments at the United Nations' Istanbul Conference on Human Settlements [Link]

3) Agenda 21, the United Nations' blueprint for global transformation led by the UN. Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Division for Sustainable Development; [Link]

GROWING UP IN CITIES provides models of interdisciplinary collaboration for listening to the voices of young people and creating more responsive urban policies and practices. This is the Social Art of Architecture and Urban Design. Read more about GUiC at: [Link].

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