|The Fourteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2012|
Stage 2: Semifinalists
We are happy to announce that, because of the large number of submittals and their high quality, we have expanded this years' number of Semifinalists. One hundred seventy-four students from thirty-one countries entered this year's competition.
From these submittals, thirty-two authors from nine countries have been advanced to the Semifinalist round (Stage Two) of the BERKELEY PRIZE 2012 competition. Semifinalists are now invited to submit a 2500-word Essay based on their 500-word Proposal. At least five, but up to seven, top Essays will be selected for final judging by this year’s BERKELEY PRIZE Jury.
All authors, whether promoted to Semifinalist status or not, can login to view the Readers’ comments regarding your Proposals. New instructions for this year’s Semifinalists are included below.
We compliment all of the Semifinalists on the extraordinary diversity of ideas and approaches in response to this year’s Question. Such responses indicate the depth of interest in and concern for the social art of architecture. As an essay competition, the BERKELEY PRIZE encourages the translation of these interests and concerns into a format for communication both to those within the profession and the wider public.
In Stage Two, you are to expand upon your chosen topic in 2,500 words. The BERKELEY PRIZE Committee encourages Semifinalists to improve the crafting of their ideas. A few suggestions seem appropriate:
We ask that you include four (4) digital photographs of your selected place with your essay. One of these photos can be the image you already posted with your Proposal, but it needs to be re-posted. The photograph should be no larger then 1 MB, and be in ,jpeg format. No more then four photographs will be accepted. You can use a digital camera, a film camera (and scan the printed image), or even capture the image on a cell phone and transfer it to your document. There is space provided at the end of the submittal form to upload the images. Space is also provided to number and caption each image.
In selecting these four images, imagine that a publisher or editor of an online blog, or a newspaper, or a magazine have accepted your essay for publication. One of their requirements is that you supply four illustrations that help describe and explain the points made in your essay. What illustrations would you submit that not only provided the basic information about your topic, but also help further your written arguments? As part of this process, refer to these illustrations at the appropriate spots within your essay.
Remember, however, one of the primary purposes of the essay format is to test your skill in describing a building in words, rather then pictures or drawings. So, do not assume that just because you have posted the photographs that your responsibility to carefully describe your selected building is reduced. To the contrary: use the illustrations to support and strengthen your writing.
Improving Your Writing
You have almost six weeks to produce your essay in final form. Use as much of this time as possible to attempt to actively improve your writing abilities, particularly if English is not your first language. Read some good prose written in English, especially essays, whether from the field of architecture or from other disciplines. In architecture, search for articles written by architectural journalists and popular architectural historians who write for a general audience online, in newspapers, and in widely circulated magazines. Think about how they present arguments and describe buildings and places. Use websites, such as reference.com to improve your English vocabulary, syntax, and spelling.
Avoid the use of professional language unfamiliar to many of your intended readers, except where absolutely necessary. Above all, avoid jargon. In describing your subject matter you might want to use this “trick”: Imagine that you are describing the building or place to a person who, unfortunately, lost their sight after years of being able to see. How would you describe this new building or place to them using only their memories of how other places looked?
Whether or not English is your first, second, or fifth language, again, do not hesitate to review your essay with an experienced English language-speaker and writer. Use their suggestions as how to make your argument as clear, precise, and interesting as possible.
Proposals due anytime before midnight, GMT, February 1, 2012
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