The Seventeenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2015
Berkeley Prize 2015

Stage 2: Semifinalists

We are happy to announce that 151 students from 17 countries submitted Proposals for the 2015 BERKELY PRIZE Essay competition.  From these submittals, 27 authors from 12 countries have been advanced to the Semifinalist round (Stage Two) of this year’s 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.  New instructions for this year’s Semifinalists are included below the list of this year’s Stage One winners.  Please read these carefully, particularly since they differ from past years.

All authors, whether promoted to Semifinalist status or not, can login to view the Readers’ comments regarding your Proposals. 


Semifinalist Winners

Benard Acellam

Makerere University

Uganda

Zahra Mosaddegh Akrami

Art University of Tehran

Islamic Republic of Iran

Melissa Almeida

Manipal University

India

Nadia Asali

Birzeit University

Palestine and the Occupied Territories

Tarun Bhasin and Vineetha Nalla

School of Planning And Architecture, Bhopal

India

Sarat Chandran

School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University

India

Prerna Damani

Sir J. J. College of Architecture, University of Mumbai

India

Anika Dodson

New Jersey Institute of Technology

USA

Rohini Jadhav

Dr. Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture

India

Mehrnoosh Khalooghi

Islamic Azad University of Qazvin, Shahid Abbaspour Campus

Islamic Republic of Iran

Kelli Littleton

Montana State University

USA

Leslie Lubowa and Humphrey Agaba

Uganda Martyrs University

Uganda

Meghna Mohandas

School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal

India

Andreea Movila

Technical University of Iasi, Faculty of  Architecture, G.M. Cantacuzino

Romania

Julie Ann Nepomuceno

University of California, Berkeley

USA

Claire Olson

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

USA

Dissa Raras

Universitas Gadjah Mada

Indonesia

Rushwanth Raghuram

Birla Institute of Technology India

Chandana Rajanna  and Hanan Tariq Qureshi 

Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee India

Jennisse Schule

Montana State University

USA

Shovon Shahriar and Asif Emran Khan

Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Sylhet

Bangladesh

Shruti Shiva

Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture

India

Vaissnavi Shukl

CEPT University

India

Ritu Sara Thomas

National Institute of Technology, Calicut

India

Stefania Tsigkouni

University of Sheffield

UK

Lohita Turlapati

Balwant Sheth School of Architecture India

Yi Ran Weng

Dalhousie University

Canada

Eman Zied

Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport

Egypt

 


Stage 2 Requirements

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. In Stage Two, you are to expand your Proposal into a 2,500 word essay in a very specific way. We want you to focus on the following question:

HOW DOES THE PROJECT YOU HAVE SELECTED WORK WITHIN THE COMMUNITY?

Using only one of the projects you have discussed in your Proposal (or the project, if you only described one), research and reflect on the following issues:

  1. How do those served feel about the project?
  2. How do the neighbors in the vicinity of the project feel about it whether they be businesses, homeowners, or renters?
  3. How does the City in which the project is located feel about the project, both its successes and its disappointments?
  4. Has the project been recognized locally, regionally, or even nationally in the press or in social media and, if so, to what extent and in a positive or negative fashion?
  5. As an architect, what about the project would you repeat given a similar opportunity and what would you change?

The first four questions can only be answered by collecting comments from the users, the neighbors, city officials, and looking for and asking about written references concerning the project.  The final question can only be answered by you as a result of the information you have collected.

General Information for More Effective Responses

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.

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 as to how you can make your Essay more effective for both professional and non-professional readers:

  • Before you begin to write the 2,500 word essay, it is essential that you carefully consider the Readers' comments about your Proposal. 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.
  • 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 images that help describe the content of your essay.  Two of these photos can be the images you already posted with your Proposal, but it needs to be re-posted.  The photographs 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 situation in words, rather then pictures or drawings.  Do not assume that just because you have posted the photographs that your responsibility to carefully describe in words your selected topic 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 assist:  Imagine that you are describing the situation and setting to a person who is blind.  How would you describe the details of what is and what you think there should be to them?  

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, 2015

 

 


Additional Help and Information

Are you in need of assistance? Please email info@berkeleyprize.org.
Meeting Room, Amalgamated Dwellings, New York City, USASpringsteen and Goldhammer, 1929 Boundary Street Estate Workshops, London, UK, London County Council, 1899Vending stalls, Hismen Hin-Nu Terrace, Oakland, CA, USA, Pyatok Architects, 1995Workshops, Perseigne Housing Estate, Alençon, France, Lucien Kroll, 1979BDD Chawls, Worli, India, Bombay Development Department, 1920Campus for Magic Bus, Panvel, India, 2007, RMA ArchitectsCantagallo, PeruCasa do Ataide, Paraisopolos, Sao Paolo, Brazil, URBZ Brazil, 2013Casa do Ataide, Paraisopolos, Sao Paolo, Brazil, URBZ Brazil, 2013Casa Familiar, San Ysidro, Califonia, USA, Estudio Teddy Cruz, OngoingCommunity Toilets for SPARC, Mumbai, India, RMA Architects, OngoingThe Construction of Low-cost Community Centres. New Delhi, 1978.Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute, Sidhpur, Dharmasala, India, MN Ashish Ganju, 1998Fez River Project, City of Fez, Morocco, Aziza Chaouni Projects, 2012Jungle Gym, Shivagi Nagar, India, Aditya Vipparthi and URBZ, 2014KPSP, Kibera, Kenya, Koukuey Design Initiative, OngoingLima, PeruLivonia Commons, Brooklyn, NY, Urban Quotient,  2011Manila, PhilippinesMetrocables of Medillin, Medillin, Colombia, Edison Escobar and María Patricia Bustamante, 2004Metrocables of Medillin, Medillin, Colombia, Edison Escobar and María Patricia Bustamante, 2004Mother and Child Care Centre, Dakshin Habal Village / Bagman Village, West Bengal, New Delhi, MN Ashish Ganju, 1979.Nairobi, KenyaSolar Initiative, Various Locations, Mexico, BaSiC Initiative 2003-2010Sudhir House, Saki Naka, Mumbai, India, URBZ, 2013Technical Facilitation of Indira Awas Yojana In Gujarat, India, Hunnarshala Foundation, 2011Bangkok, ThailandManufactured Sites: Emergency Housing, Estudio Teddy CruzLow Cost Housing Programme, Karachi, Pakistan, Orangi Pilot Project, 1987Floods: Relief And Rehabilitation, Sindh, Pakistan, Orangi Pilot Project, 2011Dar es Salaam, TanzaniaEmma Cosio and her children are laying out the foundations of their house. Mexicali, Mexico, Christopher AlexanderEmma Cosio’s completed house in 1976. Mexicali, Mexico, Christopher AlexanderJose Tapia’s house in 1976. Mexicali, Mexico, Christopher AlexanderJose Tapia’s house in 1984. Mexicali, Mexico, Christopher AlexanderMrs. Rodriguez in front of her home in 1984. Mexicali, Mexico, Christopher AlexanderThe homes the five families built for themselves in 1976. Mexicali, Mexico, Christopher AlexanderInside the Tapia’s home that they built with the help of students, 1976.Tow Build - 1st workshop - Nansan Town Council Official brief 4th Architecture Students on the Planning & Housing challenges in NabweruLocal market in the heart of KampalaLocal Resource and skills - use of sheet and timber to make house panelView from Mutungo of the Ourskirts of KampalaParticipation - children sketching their dream house
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