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

Disha Sahu

2013 Travel Fellowship Winner

Country of Origin: India
Country of Study: Finland
Current Country: United States

Degrees: Master of Community and Regional Planning (2018); Bachelor of Architecture (2013)


As I look back, I recollect that almost four years have passed since I received the BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship. In the summer of 2013, I participated in the urban planning and design summer school as a BERKELY PRIZE fellow at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. The 24-day intense studio format involved us in a hands-on user oriented urban regeneration project. The experience was rewarding and enriching. It made me cognizant about the context of modern and post-industrial culture.

As an architecture student in India, who was being trained in the age of internet and active social media, this summer school gave me the opportunity to feel and understand the developed countries perspective on social art of architecture. Before this I would generally browse and read about architecture projects in the West through internet but this exposure of climate, culture and people grounded a more rooted lens in my architectural thought process and understanding .

After finishing my architecture school in India, I worked for architecture firms in India. Over a time period of three years, I worked for various scales and types of design studio. I learnt and un-learned the pragmatism of our profession. It taught me that architecture is a profession of scale, form and rigor. After working in field of design and construction for three years, I wanted to shift gears into the larger urban context. The PRIZE Fellowship experience was instrumental in identifying my liking for urban design and planning.

Soon after three years of architecture practice, I decided to pursue my graduate studies in field of Community and Regional Planning. I moved to United States to attend The University of Texas at Austin. For past year I have been busy with my graduate studies. Currently I am spending my summers in Washington DC undertaking an Archer fellowship in Public Policy. I am also interning at the strategy and implementation division of MNCPPC (Maryland Park and Planning Commission, Prince George's County), Maryland, U.S.A.  As a part of the internship, I am involved in community engagement, stakeholder coordination for grant writing and allocation for a Transit Oriented Development project. My journey which started as seeking social art of architecture has now expanded into a social art of spatial design. 

Stakeholder meeting at Prince George's County, Maryland

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