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

Teaching Design With People in Mind

Social Factors at the College of Environmental Design

An Exhibit prepared by University of California, Berkeley’s Environmental Design Archives  

March 1 - May 20, 2016

This is a major historical document about the development of the idea of the social art of architecture and its influence on teaching at the College.  The reflections of the various participants are particularly interesting as they trace what happened and why.  The BERKELEY PRIZE is one of the outgrowths of all this activity, but it is only one of a series of responses to the study of architecture with a new focus.  The section on “Research and Projects” is particularly interesting in this regard.   Although this is primarily a story from the United States, it has lessons for schools of architecture worldwide.  Today, it is more important than ever to trace the roots of this movement, so that its widespread application is seen as part of an ongoing dialogue, rather than a unique, one-time phenomena.

(From the Introduction)
The College of Environmental Design at U.C. Berkeley was the first in the United States to combine under one college the departments of architecture, landscape architecture and city planning, and to incorporate the concept of social and cultural factors into the curriculum of its architecture department. A product of the 1960s widespread protests of the “failure of the institution,” social factors in environmental design was a “response to a number of serious social problems as manifested in the physical design of our major institutions.”

The Social Factors program at Berkeley introduced social science methods to teach the design of buildings and environments more responsive to human needs. Previous curricula and teaching focused on the aesthetic and technical aspects of architecture and landscape architecture.

This exhibit explores the innovative approaches to design education that allowed students to translate socio-cultural values into physical forms. While highlighting the fertile years of the Social Factors program in the 1960s-1980s, the exhibit also conveys its long-term impact on scholars, designers, and students at (and beyond) Berkeley today. 

The documentation of the exhibit continues at:

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