The Annual International Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2018
Berkeley Prize 2018

Jordan Coffey Proposal

Alt+Grand Tour

The practice of a grand tour to diversity an architects design palate and solidify their place in the architectural lineage has been in common practice since the latter half of the 1600's and still holds cultural relevance today. As today's technological innovations have allowed us to be digitally omnipresent. I believe we are losing the empathetic nuances that make such successful projects as Luis Khans' Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban of Bangladesh or Le Corbusier's Chandigarh successful. As culturally relevant sights of memory for generations to come. On the contrary, this disconnect of not experiencing and implanting design to serve fists hand can come architectural consequence, as failures such as the city of Brasilia or Pruitt-Igoe. Which was later demolished because the design lent itself to crime rather than the idealized promotion of social interaction. Thus it is necessary for an architect to take a Jane Jacobs approach and get as close as possible to those in the built environment we are serving, gaining empathy driven insights for the community.

Beyond the romanticized notion of the primitive hut, our westernized Greco-roman fascination of architecture that has evolved from the classical to neoclassical to modern and postmodern has its architectural origins in Egypt. By beginning my grand tour at the 396th International Conference on Civil and Architectural Engineering (ICCAE) that will be held on 11th - 12th June 2018 in Cairo. I will be exposed to the cornerstone of both Architectural historical marvels and the cutting edge that will define the future of our practice. ICCAE brings together innovative academics and industrial experts in the field of Civil and Architectural Engineering in a common forum. Promoting a cross-discipline dialogue and partnerships that can build a better tomorrow.

Architecture is grounded in a 5000-year-old history, grounded in Egypt. I believe it is just as important to study the past and observe what has worked from man's history in relation to space to study and incorporate the technologies that will define our future. This dual appreciation will define counterparty social art of architecture.


BetterPlace International is an organization dedicated to providing sustainable and high-tech health care in remote and underserved areas in Sub-Saharan Africa

From Egypt, I will travel to Vipingo, Kenya to partner with Better Place International. ( BetterPlace International is an organization dedicated to providing sustainable and high-tech health care in remote and underserved areas in Sub-Saharan Africa) to follow up with Yuri Millo on a 3D printed housing project in partnership with the University of California's Professor Ronald Rael's senior design studio. I believe that this high touch intersection of traditional materials constructed using state of the art technology is the vanguard of the social art of architecture. My time in Kenya I will also connect with the Massai people; who are one of the world's last nomadic tribes in the world. Many may think it is contrarian for an architect to study nomads rather than the inner workings of a city. However, what I believe to be true as that a majority of architectural innovation in the context of a social tool to build community is now taken place not on the physical plan but the digital. Thus, the social art of architecture is not restricted to the brick in the mortar. Thus making the digital communities that we interact with globally in a sense digital nomads. Thus, I hypothesize that there is a social nuance that can be learned and adapted to promote the social art of architecture when those who interact are not restricted to the confines of a city or a building but rather an open space of interaction. Furthermore, the sense of an architectural program can be adapted and superimposed in the digital world.


On the denouement of my Berkeley Prize Grand Tour, I find it quintessential to be of service. And towards the end of this journey, I will join Professor of Economics at IE University Gayle Allard Ph.D. and a group of MBA students to Adwa, Ethiopia to to start a summer English program and to select a local company for an investment, which will be used to design and build homes and access to clean water in Adwa.


Juxtaposing the enduring power of the social art of architecture rooted in its 5,000-year-old history, while integrating the cutting edge of technology to serve those in need will make up for a dynamic experience of a lifetime that will inform my further architectural practice. Architects today are faced with designing social interaction not only with the physical world but the digital world. It is our responsibility as designers to serve and connect humanity, designing for communities that will endure like our structures, in all build a brighter future for everyone.

Itinerary & Budget for the Berkeley Prize Travel Fellowship



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