The Nineth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2007
Berkeley Prize 2007

The 2007 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. 7,500USD Purse.


The Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence endowment 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 that becomes the focus of the Essay Competition. This year the topic is: Making Social Architecture

The Committee poses a Question on this website 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. Undergraduate architecture students may team up with undergraduates from Allied Arts and Social Sciences programs.  

From the pool of essay proposals received, approximately 25 are selected by the Prize Committee as particularly promising. The 25 selected individual students, or student teams, become Semifinalists

These Semifinalists are invited 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 Finalist essays to a jury of international academics and architects to select the winners. 

This year, the ten top scoring Semifinalists will also be invited to participate in the Berkeley Prize Travel Fellowship Competition. This year's Travel Fellowship winner will receive airfare and a stipend to attend and participate in the Global Studio to be held inJohannesburg, South Africa in July 2007. 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 2007 Essay Competition, you will consider this legacy and its relevance to you as future architects.


This year's Berkeley Prize is dedicated to those teams and individuals around the world who have committed themselves to the application of the ideals of social architecture to built projects. 

In answering this 2007 Essay Competition Question, participants will be asked to research the work of fifteen of these significant teams by visiting their websites. These fifteen are among fifty-five teams showcased in a groundbreaking new book called Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises (Metropolis Press, 2006).

Edited by the co-founders of Architecture for Humanity (one of the 15 highlighted teams), Design Like You Give a Damn beautifully illustrates dozens of projects and organizations that are changing lives, by design. The Berkeley Prize 2007 is dedicated to the ideals of Design Like You Give a Damn as well as the teams and their projects featured within it. 

Our hope is that this year’s Competition, as well as this important book, will inspire new design initiatives in service of society.

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