The Annual International Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2020
Berkeley Prize 2020



The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 2017-2019 CycleUnited Nations Conferences on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development:
These conferences, Habitat I, II, and III, have resulted in a series of urban initiatives, one of which is The New Urban Agenda.

As is often the case, the majority of recently announced awards for the latest cycle of the internationally-acclaimed Aga Khan Awards are civic buildings. You can see this year’s awards, all of the finalist projects, and previous awards at the link above.

Project for Public Spaces
Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit planning, design, and educational organization based in New York dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.”

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC)
Mobilizing social science for the public good. The Social Science Research Council, an independent, international nonprofit, mobilizes necessary knowledge for the public good by supporting scholars worldwide, generating new research across disciplines, and linking researchers with policymakers and citizens.”

Center for Community Engagement in Over-the-Rhine (CCE-OTR) 
A model for cross-disciplinary and university/public partnerships, Cincinnati, Ohio's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood action group was developed and directed for many years by the late architect Thomas A. Dutton who was the Cincinnati Professor of Community Engagement in Miami University’s Department of Architecture + Interior Design.

OpenCities Projects
“Founded in 2006, OpenCity is a creative lab that explores the design of cities. We are a volunteer-led community of architects, designers, urban planners and writers who believe that when diverse people mix and interact in urban environments, it creates more tolerant and peaceful places to live. Our research approach puts people at the center of design by gaining a deep understanding of their day-to-day living experience. By delivering important insights and tools, we aim to inspire city-builders and citizens to Design for Diversity.”

Spatial Agency
Spatial Agency is a project that presents a new way of looking at how buildings and space can be produced. Moving away from architecture's traditional focus on the look and making of buildings, Spatial Agency proposes a much more expansive field of opportunities in which architects and non-architects can operate. It suggests other ways of doing architecture.


The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 2017-2019 Cycle
As is often the case, the majority of recently announced awards for the latest cycle of the internationally-acclaimed Aga Khan Awards are civic buildings. You can see this year’s awards and links to previous awards at the link below.

“2019 International Architecture Awards Winners Announced”

by Niall Patrick Walsh
“Over 120 projects have been recognized during the 2019 International Architecture Awards. The oldest, largest global awards in the industry, the awards are organized by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. This year's winners hail from 41 nations around the world and recognize a variety of categories…” See, in particular, “Civic and Community Centers,” “Community and Public Centers,” “Libraries” “Museums and Cultural Buildings,” and “Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture

Kings Place, London

Xiafu Activity-Center, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Civic Center Redevelopment, Long Beach, California, U.S.A.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
“For years, no one visited downtown LA until an architectural jewel helped bring it back to life”
by Corinne Purtill

Cordeliers Community Centre and Nursery, Pontoise, France
“Ateliers O-S Architectes designs community centre for a sleepy French town”
by Harriet Thorpe

Delft Symphony Way: New Community Day Centre, Delft, Cape Town, South Africa

Rachana School Library, Ahmedabad, India

Himatnagar Canalfront Development, Himatnagar, India

Green Wings, Hatay, Turkey
“ONZ Repurpose Abandoned Stadium into Urban Park with Cultural Hub”
by Lilly Cao

Tokyo Music Hall, Tokyo, Japan
“Award-Winning Design of Tokyo Music Hall Transforms Roof into a Public Plaza”
by Dima Stouhi

Boston City Hall Renovation, Boston, U.S.A.

Hangzhou-Yuhang Opera House, China


Some of the significant/most interesting figures in the field who over the past decades have worked to make our urban environments and civic buildings better…and below are some of the most well-known writings and/or projects.  The referenced books are part of the core collections of most public and probably all academic libraries.  Many are available online – sometimes including the full text, sometimes long excerpts.  Explore the options.

Ahmed Al-Ali and Farid Esmaeil, X-Architects: “Al Muharraq, An Urban Doctrine to Produce and Preserve Authenticity,” 

Christopher Alexander: The Timeless Way of Building, 1979; A New Theory of Urban Design, 1987.

Peter Buchanan: "The Big Rething Part 11: Urban Design," Architectural Review, 6 March 2013

Peter Calthorpe: The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community, and the American Dream, 1993

Andrés Duany: The New Civic Art: Elements of Town Planning, by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Robert Alminana, 2003 

Alejandro Echeverri: (Profile),

Jan Gehl: Cities for People, 2013; Close Encounters with Buildings, 2005

Mark Girouard: Cities & People, 1985.

Paul and Percival Goodman: Communitas: Means of Livelihood and Ways of Life, 1947.

Bjarke Ingels:  “Founder and creative partner of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), widely known for buildings that defy convention while incorporating sustainable development principles and bold sociological concepts.” (Wikiedia)  For one of BIG’s civic building projects, see:

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006): Called an “urban visionary,” Jacobs was a major force in the movement towards creating cities for people.  Her best-known work is The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961.

Rem Koolhaas: Delirious New York, 1978: S,M,L,XL, 1995; "Project on the City," 2000-2002

Henri Lefebvre: The Production of Space, 1974.

Lewis Mumford (1895-1990):  Mumford was a prolific writer, he published at least 25 significant books among which, The City in History (1961); "Renewal of Life" series: Technics and Civilization (1934), The Culture of Cities (1938), The Condition of Man (1944), and the Conduct of Life (1951); and the Urban Prospect (1968) are the most famous, relatively speaking, since all had and continue to have a wide audience and importance for understanding building at the urban scale.

Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk: A leading American architect/urban planner with a large portfolio of work.  See her projects at:

Aldo Rossi: The Architecture of the City, 1966.

Richard Sennet: The Uses of Disorder: Personal Identity and City Life, 1970; The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities, 1990.

Paolo Soleri (1919-2013): The founder of Arcosanti, a new form of urban design. There have been a number of books published by and about the architect and his community.  An entry point is The City in the Image of Man, 1969.


“What Makes a Great Public Place?”
by Project for Public Spaces (see “Organizations” above)

“Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life”
by Daniel Cox, Ryan Streeter

“The Democratic Monument: Adam Nathaniel Furman's Manifesto for a New Type of Civic Center”
by Adam Nathaniel Furman

“The Community Hub of the Future Isn’t a Library or a Shopping Center.  It’s City Hall.”
by Emily Nonko

“Interculturally Inclusive Spaces as Just Environments”
by Julian Agyeman

“Why are huge museums in China virtually empty?”
by Megan Chua

“Don't call Medellin a model city.”
by Naki B. Mendoza

“Utopia Spurned: Ricardo Bofil and the French Ideal City Tradition
by Tony Schuman, Journal of Architectural Education, Fall, 1986 (40/1)

“Why Culture Must be at the Heart of Sustainable Urban Development”
by Nancy Duxbury, Jyoti Hosagrahar, and Jordi Pascual

“Why India Cannot Plan Its Cities:  Informality, Insurgence and the Idiom of Urbanization”     
by Ananya Roy


The below-referenced books have been selected because of their breadth and geographic reach.  Again, all are well-known enough to be part of the core collections of most public and probably all discipline-specific academic libraries.  Many are available online – sometimes including the full text, sometimes long excerpts.  Explore the options.  We are not suggesting that you need to read all of the books cover-to-cover – although they are all worth the effort.  We are suggesting that you try to become familiar with the contents of the ones that trigger your interest and that can help you develop the arguments you make in your Proposal and Essay. 

Reconstructing Architecture: Critical Discourses and Social Practices
edited by Thomas A. Dutton and Lian Hurst Mann, 1996.

Remaking the City: Social Science Perspectives on Urban Design,
edited by John S. Pipkin, Mark E. La Gory and Judith R. Blau. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1983.

Professionals and Urban Form
edited by Judith R. Blau, Mark E. La Gory and John S. Pipkin, 1983.

Public Space Design and Social Cohesion: An International Comparison,
edited by Patricia Aelbrecht and Quentin Stevens

Transforming Distressed Global Communities: Making Inclusive, Safe, Resilient, and Sustainable Cities,
edited by Fritz Wagner, Riad Mahayni, Andreas Piller, 2015.

Stupendous Miserable City, Pasolini's Rome
by John David Rhodes, University of Minnesota Press, 2007

Re-construyendo la ciudad: El espacio publico como lugar de simetría, dialogo y trascendencia.
(Re-building the city: Public space as a place of symmetry, dialogue and transcendence), by
Augusto Serrano and Alfredo Stein, 2019.

New Islamist Architecture and Urbanism: Negotiating Nation and Islam Through Built Environment in Turkey
by Gulsah Aykac. 2017.

Demystifying Doha: On Architecture and Urbanism in an Emerging City,
by Samer Bagaeen, 2014.

Making Lahor Modern: Constructing and Imagining a Colonial City,
by W.J.Glover, 2007.

Immigrants and the Revitalisation of Los Angeles: Development and Change in MacArthur Park
by Gerardo Sandoval, 2011.

The City in Modern Africa
edited by H. Miner, 1967.

Metropolitan Kano (Nigeria): Report on the Twenty Year Development Plan 1963-83,
by B. A. W. Trevaillon and others, 1967.


Additional Help and Information

Are you in need of assistance? Please email
Planetario de Medellín Jesús Emilio Ramírez González (Medellín Planetarium), Medellín, Colombia. Marco Aurelio Baquero, Architect. See: (Photo: website.)
El Parque Explora, Medellín, Columbia. Interactive science museum. Alejandro Echeverri + Valencia Arquitectos, Architects. See: (Photo: website)

United States Post Office, Albany, California, U.S.A. This is typical of the thousands of post offices in the country that, despite the computer age, are in constant use by the local community.

Aspen Police Department Headquarters, Aspen, Colorado, U.S.A. Charles Cunniffe Architects. See:; and
São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), São Paulo, Brazil. Lina Bo Bardi, Architect. See:
Edificio de Correos y Telegrafos (Mail and Telegraph Building), Valencia, Spain. 1922. This Central Post Office building is popularly known as the “Palacio de Comunicaciones” (Palace of Communications). Miguel Angel Navarro, Architect.
San Francisco Department of Public Health Headquarters, San Francisco, U.S.A.
Seattle Public Library, Central Branch, Seattle, U.S.A. Funding was provided by a $196 million bond measure, called "Libraries for All," approved by Seattle voters. Rem Koolhaas, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), working in conjunction with Joshua Prince-Ramus, LMN Architects.
Beijing National Aquatics Center, Beijing, China. The “Water Cube” at the Olympic Park. PTW Architects and the Arup Australasia engineering group, together with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and the CSCEC Shenzhen Design Institute. See:
Sunday Community Market at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DVM) Office, Oakland, California, U.S.A. This DMV is one of 180 such offices in California, all of which issue driver's licenses, identity cards, and vehicle registrations.
Temescal Branch Library, Oakland, California, U.S.A. 1918. One of sixteen libraries in the Oakland Public Library system. Charles W. Dickey and John J. Donovan, Architects.
San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco, U.S.A. 1915. Designed by Arthur Brown, Jr. of Bakewell & Brown, Architects. See:
Bunjil Place Cultural Center, Narre Warren, Victoria, Australia. Fjmt Architects. See:; (Photo: Trevor Mein)
Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan. Convention center, concert venue and exhibition space designed by Rafael Viñoly, Architect. See:
Biblioteca Latino-Americana Victor Civita (Victor Civita Latin America Library), at the Latin American Memorial, São Paulo, Brazil. Oscar Niemeyer, Architect. The Library is part of a much larger, multi-building cultural center. See:
Mercat Central (Central Market), Valencia, Spain. 1914-1928. Alejandro Soler March and Francesc Guàrdia i Vial, Architects.
Oceanário de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal. The largest indoor aquarium in Europe. Designed by Cambridge Seven Associates led by American architect Peter Chermayeff.
Shanghai Concert Hall, Shanghai, China. Originally built in 1930, Robert Fan Wenzhao, Architect. In 2007, in recognition of its historic and cultural importance to the community, the entire hall was moved 66 meters to facilitate the construction of a new elevated highway. It has been fully conserved for a new lifetime of community use.
Xiafu Activity Center, New Taipai City, Taiwan. IMO Architecture + Design;
JC Cheng +Associates+Architects+Planners. See: (Photo:
Chorsu Market, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Today’s bazaar is a complex of large blue and turquoise domes constructed by the government in the Soviet era during the 1980s on the site of former markets that have been in operation for over 2000 years. See:
Wasit Wetland Center, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. X Architects. See: (Photo: Nelson Garrido)
Tabriz Bazaar Complex, Tabriz, Iran. United Nations World Heritage listing. See Recent Aga Khan prize-winning rehabilitation by ICHTO East Azerbaijan Office, Architects. See: (Photo: AKKA-Amir Anoushfar)
Shelter For Victims Of Domestic Violence, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Amos Goldreich Architecture + Jacobs Yaniv Architects. See: (Photo: Amit Geron)
Christmas Market at the Palace of Culture and Science (PKiN), Warsaw, Poland. Designed by Soviet architect Lev Rudnev in what has been called the "Seven Sisters" (Stalinist) style, the 1955 building has survived post-Communist era calls for its demolition. It “houses various public and cultural institutions such as cinemas, theaters, libraries, sports clubs, university faculties and authorities of the Polish Academy of Sciences.” The building is slowly overcoming its history as a symbol of totalitarianism and has become a true community resource. See:
Maitland Riverlink Gateway Building, Maitland, Australia. CHROFI and McGregor Coxall, Architects and Landscape Architects. See: (Photo:
Kings Place Offices, Music and Visual Arts Center, London, England. Dixon Jones, Architects. See: (Photo: website);
Aspen Volunteer Fire Department Headquarters + Fire Museum, Aspen, Colorado, U.S.A. S2 Architects. See:
UVA Nuevo Occidente, Medellín, Colombia. Public and community spaces including swimming pool, dressing rooms, and recreational terrace; a ballroom, toy library, classroom workshop, cinema auditorium and children's playground; multiple classrooms, administrative offices, commercial premises and viewing terrace and, in addition to a multi-purpose Coliseum, synthetic court and urban gym. See also: (Photo: Benard Acellam)
Cultural Development Center of Moravia (CDCM), Medellín, Colombia. Rogelio Salmona, Architect. Designed with an auditorium for 350 people; thirty private and soundproof cubicles for practice; three multiple classrooms for meetings, rehearsals, training or practice; galleries; and a number of playgrounds for various activities. See also: (Photo: Benard Acellam)
Copyright © 1998-2024 Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence
Privacy Policy Cookie Policy
For permission for any form of re-use of any of the contents, please contact
The BERKELEY PRIZE is endorsed by the Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley.