The Annual International Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2019
Berkeley Prize 2019

Philipp Goertz Bio

At a young age my primary interest consisted in the construction of huts made from willow. I think that I like the act of planning and then carrying out my ideas. Yet, only after doing a volunteer service in an ambulance service in Italy in 2015, I decided to study architecture at RWTH Aachen University. I was impressed by Renaissance and Gothic architecture in Siena and Florence that I would often go to during my service. I think, however, that I was even more impressed by the way the piazza in Sinalunga (a small town in Siena region which looks very much like so many other towns in Italy) offered a place for people to meet and live. I wanted to learn more on how architecture can empower people and be the stage to a good life.

After two years of architecture studies in Aachen and figuring that Aachen's typical triangular squares derive from a juxtaposition of Roman city foundations depending on cardo and decumanus and the eastern oriented city grid of Charlemagne’s times which are turned by an 30° angle, I went to Politecnico di Milano for one year. I learned a different notion and opinion on the terms of "beauty" and "aesthetic" in architecture and focused on the theoretical approach to architecture and its significance in our society.

Back in Aachen my partner and I participated in this year's Berkeley essay. It strongly encouraged me to dig deeper into adobe/earth and clay constructions and to focus on the construction of buildings. It somehow brought me back where I come from – to the very sustainable construction of huts made from willow sticks. I believe that architecture might be one of the most ambivalent studies and fields of interest. The composition of walls and voids can empower people to live good lives in freedom and liberty. And yet, not only the spatial composition and the context are of importance, but the way of construction and materiality as well.

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Mr. Philipp Goertz, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen Germany
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