The Fourteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2012
Berkeley Prize 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.


Semifinalist Winners

Víctor Alejandro Oseguera Abarca 

Universidad La Salle Morelia

Mexico

Jayashree Bardhan 

CEPT University

India

Manali Bhutwala 

Balwant Sheth School of Architecture

India

Dipon Bose 

Birla Institute of Technology

India

Caitlin Copeland

University of Edinburgh

UK

Ushnata Datta 

Birla Institute of Technology

India

Taylor Davey

University of Waterloo

Canada

Kaleb Hebert

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

USA

Hriday Gami 

CEPT University

India

Theresa Joy Hannig 

University of California, Berkeley

USA

Arnold Kasule         

Uganda Martyrs University

Uganda

Young-il Kim 

University of Westminster

UK

Lubingo Lembelembe

Uganda Martyrs University

Uganda

Kin Kit Loh and Phoaw Yen Shan

National University of Singapore

Singapore

Dominic Mathew

Birla Institute of Technology

India

Gauri Mathur

Birla Institute of Technology

India

Bryans Mukasa

Uganda Martyrs University

Uganda

Uri Newman

Technion

 Israel

Matthew Ngango

Uganda Martyrs University

Uganda

Catrin Persson

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Sweden

Hanan Qureshi and Araaf Afzal Khan

Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee

India

 

Priyanka Raju

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

India

Neelakshi Rathore

Visvesvaraya National Institute Of Technology

India

Philip Rugamba

Uganda Martyrs University

Uganda

Riddhi Shah

BN College of Architecture

India

Insha Sharma

Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra

India

Priyanka Sheth  and Rushil Palavajjhala

CEPT University

India

Saumitra Sinha

School of Planning and Architecture

India

Ohad Sorek

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design

Israel

Emma Survis

University of Arizona

USA

Michael Swords

Dublin school of Architecture

Ireland

Yeshwanth Alkananda

MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology

India


General Information

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:

  • Before you begin to write the 2,500 word essay, it is essential that you carefully consider the Readers' comments about your Proposal for the essay. These comments are meant to help you write a winning essay. Please read your reviewer comments in your Author Portfolio. 
  • An essay is different from a Proposal.  Your Proposal was selected because the Committee believed that it was a good outline that had the potential to be developed into an even better essay on the social art of architecture.  You want to do more – much more - than simply re-state your argument.  Explore and expand your ideas, the reasons for them, and the conclusions you have reached because of them.  Substantiate these thoughts with specific examples.
  • Remember:  the Question asks not only what building in your community serves the public good, but prompts you to spend time at the building, meet the users, talk with the people who administer the services the building provides, interview the architects/designers of the building if possible, discover the intricacies of how this place works on a day-to-day basis, and only after this kind of in-depth study, describe why the building is so significant.
  • In answering the Question, the BERKELEY PRIZE Committee is particularly interested in responses that speak to the general public. If social architecture is to become the norm, rather then the exception, the public must be persuaded of the value of design that reflects human worth. If social ideas are to be realized, rather then simply discussed, the public must be persuaded that there is added value to initiating your idea as opposed to doing nothing. This means selecting a voice that is both your own, and one that is accessible to both serious readers and those who read only the "lead" points.
  • Ask a friend to read your essay before submitting it. Better yet, show it to two friends: one, a fellow architecture student; the second, a person not familiar with the discipline or profession. Use their input to revise your draft. If you can prevail on them, ask them to read your revised draft.  Ask them how your argument can be made clearer – it always can be. 

Illustrations

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.  

MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN AND GOOD LUCK!

Proposals due anytime before midnight, GMT, February 1, 2012


Additional Help and Information

Are you in need of assistance? Please email info@berkeleyprize.org.
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