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

Preeti Talwai

2011 Architectural Design Fellowship Winner

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

Degrees: Master of Environmental (2016); Bachelor of Architecture (2013)


After completing my Bachelor's degree in Architecture at UC Berkeley and a Master of Environmental Design at the Yale School of Architecture, I am currently working as a User Experience Researcher at X (formerly Google[x]), the innovation lab of Google. In this role, I conduct qualitative human-centered research that helps vet futuristic ideas and determine which are worth pursuing. I study human needs, attitudes, motivations, and behaviors across different domains and ecosystems.

The core values of the social art of architecture -- in which the BERKELEY PRIZE catalyzed my interest -- have been central to my work after college. My decision to pursue a graduate architectural theory degree was motivated in large part by my undergraduate writing and thinking about social architecture. In turn, my graduate thesis critically examined the impact that technology has on the social experience of public space and the act of consumption.

At X, I am the only researcher with an architectural background. I bring a deep investment in conducting physically contextualized research and investigating human-environment relationships, with a belief that all technologies must be understood within sociospatial ecosystems. The critical perspective, empathy and humanism, and conviction in socially engaged and purposeful design drives my work every day.

To me the most exciting thing about the social art of architecture is its universal significance to almost any discipline, while the biggest challenge is a lack of awareness. I hope that by continuing to work in non-architectural fields, I am able to open industry minds to social and environmental questions, and help shape more humanistic and socially driven approaches towards building things for people.

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