|The Seventeenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 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.
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:
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:
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.
Proposals due anytime before midnight, GMT, February 1, 2015
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