The Nineteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2017
Berkeley Prize 2017

The Reserve: Archive of Top-Scoring Essays

Since the BERKELEY PRIZE’s inception in 2000 as an international digital essay competition for undergraduate students studying architecture, nearly 2000 students from 62 countries have participated by submitting essay proposals. These are reviewed by, now,  64 readers: BERKELEY PRIZE Committee Members who are architects, educators, allied professionals, social scientists, and past PRIZE winners.  The effort is to determine which proposals show the greatest likelihood to become substantial and meaningful essays. 

Although the number varies, each year approximately twenty-five to thirty students who write these promising proposals are named as Semifinalists and invited to submit a 2500-word essay.  Most do.  Again, the essays are reviewed by the all of the readers and a small number, perhaps eight, are named as Finalists.  These top-scoring and other intriguing essays are forwarded to that year's specially selected Jury to determine the normally four overall winners of the competition.

The quality of all of these essays, winners or not, is uniformly high. They exhibit a wide diversity and often intriguing responses to the Question. Even when the students are not able to express themselves in the most elegant language, there is often great passion for the subject and excitement in the writing.  For whatever reason some of these essays did not place as ultimate winners, there is intrinsic value in reading and thinking about all of them.  The Reserve provides the opportunity to do exactly that.

The top 16 essays from recent PRIZE cycles are listed below, each with links to the texts and accompanying photographs. If you would like to contact the author of one or more of these essays, simply contact the PRIZE.  We will forward your request to the author and ask them to respond directly to you if they are interested in doing so.  We assume most will do exactly that.  Please take advantage of this added opportunity to learn more about the social art of architecture from some of the best undergraduate architecture students in the world.

(NOTE:  The winning essays from each PRIZE cycle and the identity of their authors can be seen in the individual archives for those years. Visit the Essay Prize Competition.)


2017 - Architecture Reveals Communities

CANADA

[2334] The Little Pinoy Sari-Sari Store: Of Otherness and Belonging in a Global Diaspora

INDIA

[2340] Expressions of Aspirations: United by a Night.

[2319] “Architectural Response to Struggle and Transformation”

[2396] THE LIFE OF UNTOUCHABLE: an honest depiction...

[2391] Religious Built Environment as a Collective Memory

[2183] Culture | The Determinant

[2161] AN ARCHITECTURE OF COHESION

[2447] Blurring boundaries

[2381] Home, away from home.

INDONESIA

[2407] Repurpose to Survive: a Lesson from Surakarta

SINGAPORE

[2395] The Baweanese Pondok: Pondok Tampilung

TUNISIA

[2277] From an historic site... to a place of socio-cultural identity

UGANDA

[2438] ARCHITECTURE FOR THE PEOPLE

UNITED STATES

[2442] The Architecture of Place: Amaranth Bakery and Cafe

[2383] Stories of Community: The Provo Tabernacle

[2205] Melding a National identity: The Indian Heritage Center


2016 - SHELTERING THOSE IN NEED: Architects Confront Homelessness

BANGLADESH

[2060] The Marginalized or the Resilient?

[2061] Building Dreams Together

INDIA

[1680] Paving better paths for little feet

[1641] From Squatters of Threat to Homes of Hope

[1614] Rumah in the Woods : Resurrection of the Nanga Sumpa Longhouse

[1968] Confronting Homelessness Through Community

[2029] Building Identities and Trust - The Muzaffarnagar Story

[1969] Addressing homelessness-for the people, of the people, by the people

[2023] The New Indian Home Owner

[1682] The Beauty of architecture without aesthetics: dignifying the marginalized

[1999] The story of my childhood friend Mahika (the original identity is kept hidden):SOS BHOPAL

UGANDA

[2015] Homes for the Homeless by the Homeless

UNITED STATES

[2073] Without a Home - Migrant Farmworkers in California

[1623] Intercepting Architecture

[1990] Safe Place: Designers Learning from the Informal Community Developments and Personal Desires of Homeless Individuals

[2044] Shelters from the Storm | Making It Right in New Orleans


2015 - Architects Confront Poverty

BANGLADESH

[1417] Embracing Poverty

CANADA

[1343] North End Halifax: Impact a Poverty-Stricken Community Through Small Scale Architecture

EGYPT

[1293] Parallel Practice: Bottom-Up Participatory Design in Impoverished Communities in Egypt

INDIA

[1405] Imagine There are No Slums : Mainstreaming an image with dignity

[1451] Vermilion of hope

[1409] Incremental Changes Bring Immense Happiness to the Urban Poor

[1493] Constructing dignity: a design for empowering the urban poor

[1424] Journey from unfortunate to happy!

[1504] Shelter.

[1478] Architecture Or (r)Evolution

INDONESIA

[1347] The Art of Confronting Poverty: Architecture by the People

ROMANIA

[1315] Sponsoring the Resistance.The Golden Poverty

UGANDA

[1403] Learning on the Hillside: Confronting Poverty with Education

UNITED STATES

[1444] Where Nobody Goes Away A Stranger

[1242] Milwaukee's Social Artery

[1481] Education through Environmentalism


2014 - The Architect and the Healthful Environment

BANGLADESH

[1151] Livability Vs Lovability

CANADA

[1170] Healthful Halifax: Designing Healthy Spaces, Learning by Example

[932] Building the In Between Spaces into a Healthful Environment

GREECE

[1035] Staying sane in the land of crisis

INDIA

[1075] Spaces To Grow In - A Comparative Study of Two Orphanages

[1058] The Architecture of a Healthful Learning Environment

[1053] How expensive is health in Mumbai?

[1165] Healthy Offices, Happy Employees

[882] Spaces & Spirit - The Built Form and the Human Psyche

[1022] For Kanaka.. and “namma” Chennai

IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF

[883] Sketches of Hasan’s Mom

ISRAEL

[901] Somewhere I can call HEALTHY

UNITED KINGDOM

[1162] The street in the body of the city

UNITED STATES

[1114] Old-World Markets and Post-War Grocers: a comparative analysis

[1106] A Walk in the Park: Identity and Mental Health

[1120] Residential Design and Physical Health: A Comparison of Two Communities in Beijing, China


2013 - The Architect and the Accessible City

AUSTRALIA

[787] To Create an Enabling City, Start with the Street

[586] SENSORY ACCESS: THE LIBERTY SWING

GERMANY

[650] Münster - World´s most livable city, but for everyone?

INDIA

[769] Delhi: In Hope of Equity

[746] Bringing a revolution to Roorkee : The archetypal Indian town

[734] ACCESSIBILITY AND BEYOND (Minimizing disability in New Delhi )

[696] Accessibility in Proximity

[562] 'Integrated- Inclusiveness'- The Requiste for Accessibility

[719] A Socio-Economic Approach to Universal Design

ITALY

[764] increase awarness of value of accessibility

PALESTINE

[691] A Resilient Past and a Promising Future; Disability in Ramallah

SINGAPORE

[594] Sensing Barriers: Accessibility in Spatial Perceptions

UNITED KINGDOM

[736] Access denied?

[793] A day in the life of a wheelchair user: navigating Lincoln

[595] The Disabled Traveler in Edinburgh

[572] Accessibility and Cultural Sites


2012 - Architecture for the Public Good

CANADA

[403] Creating a New Dialogue with an Old City

INDIA

[255] “So Heddan, So Hoddan” (As here, so there)

[219] The Ranchi 'pagalkhana'....garden of the frenetic.

[355] The Bridge to Education

[402] Smiling between the cracks - The Laurie Baker Building Center

[215] A Sanctuary for Expression and Transformation

[361] Building Street Dreamscapes: The Durga Puja Pandal at Kolkata

[437] A place for pause in the city of pace

[283] AADI-Beginning of a Journey Towards Inclusion

ISRAEL

[291] Generous Architecture at Yerocham Public Library

[400] Humble and great

SINGAPORE

[478] The greatest public good is public space

SWEDEN

[455] A home on the way home

UNITED KINGDOM

[491] Tate Modern, London's foremost contributor of the Public Good

[251] Empowering Design

UNITED STATES

[465] Gaining Identity


2011 - Valuing the Sacred

CANADA

[71] Museum of Music Moves a City

FINLAND

[74] Sauna: Temple of the Five Senses

INDIA

[15] Of the House, the City, the Earth and the Universe: The Otla as a Threshold Space

ISRAEL

[61] A Separate Place

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

[70] Sacred Spirit of Ruins

SINGAPORE

[73] Supernormal of the void deck

UGANDA

[85] Fort Patiko: A Tale of Gory Transformations

UNITED STATES

[47] A Wall Along the River: Fringe Graffiti in St. Louis

[145] The Locker Rooms At Anselmo Mine In Butte, Once Called Butte City

[45] Hirst, Water, and the Need to Make Art from Public Fountains

[129] Memorial Circle

[181] A Water Temple

[176] Remnants of a Mining Town

[49] To value a sacred space

[78] Archie Bray: Sacred Creation of Past and Present

[98] Temple in Transit


2010 - Historic Preservation/Heritage Conservation

AUSTRALIA

[1583] Learning from The Northcott Government Housing Estate, Surry Hills, Sydney.

CANADA

[1573] The Confederacy Council House at Six Nations Reserve No. 40: A monument to First Nations culture and community

[1578] Where the Past and Future Meet: Cultural Regeneration of a Forgotten Block

INDIA

[1574] The story of a prison cell

IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF

[1586] The Silk Road Caravansaries: The Forgotten National Identity

IRELAND

[1581] Henrietta street - The forgotten birthplace of Irish Georgian architecture, and a type of society now lost.

PHILIPPINES

[1580] New Trains, Station in Ruins

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

[1584] History is architectural.

SINGAPORE

[1572] The Birth of a National Landscape: Warehouses along the Singapore River.

[1575] Wet Market

[1582] Past to Future: Resilience of the shophouse as a typology in Singapore

UNITED STATES

[1561] History of an igloo; the story behind Pittsburgh's Mellon Arena

[1576] Seattle's Houseboat Community: Merging History with Design for the Future

[1577] A High Price for Grandeur

[1579] Preserving Michigan Central Station

[1585] The Plight of Detroit's Historic School Buildings


2009 - Sustainable Architecture/Traditional Wisdom

CANADA

[1847] Learning from Canada's Brick Masonry History

[1854] Food in the Cellar

INDIA

[1859] Expressing the Language of Architecture; Through Courtyards

[1846] Banaras- a continuing natural, cultural and architectural landscape

PHILIPPINES

[1860] Bayanihan Caravan: The Key to Reviving the Filipino Identity through Helping Disaster Victims

UGANDA

[1853] The Building Exodus of a Going People

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

[1857] Preserving integration and community, the modern "sikka"

[1858] The Traditional House for Modern Living - Reviving a Lost Identity

UNITED KINGDOM

[1848] Mesopotamian Peace Park

[1851] Vanishing vernacular in the Casbah of Algiers: building sustainable communities based on traditional knowledge to empower future generations.

[1855] Instances of the liminal

UNITED STATES

[1861] Windtowers of the Arabian Gulf: Eastern Technology for a Cultural and Sustainable Environment in the midst of Globalization

[1849] Los Recuerdos del Barrio (The Memory of the Barrio)

[1850] Modern Day Pioneers: Providing Culturally and Environmentally Responsible Housing for Migrant Farm Workers in the United States of America

[1856] Rewriting Cinematic Space


2008 - Competing To Serve

AUSTRALIA

[1864] Shaping identity and ‘place’ in Australian Indigenous housing

CANADA

[1867] Positively Shaping Space: AIDS/Architecture/Awareness

INDIA

[1866] Goals for Equitable change

[1869] Abruption in Social Evolution by the Architecture of Post-Millennial India: A Call to re-think ‘evolution’ and ‘development’ to bring Social Sustainability in Gurgaon

[1873] Sparsha-a human touch

IRAN

[1870] Salvation by brick

[1871] To be, to become

ISRAEL

[1872] A call for Social Responsibility : Bridging the gap, a cricital solution for the Bedouin minority

NEW ZEALAND

[1865] DESIGN:wiki_HOUSE – a student competition to promote affordable sustainable housing in New Zealand

NIGERIA

[1876] Model Skills Acquisition Centres

SINGAPORE

[1863] Good Vintage - Sustainable Architecture for an Ageing Society

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

[1862] The Abolition of Congested Urbanism - A Task or a Moral Obligation?

UNITED STATES

[1874] Role of Architecture to Help Solve Problems of Rural Depopulation

[1875] Design for the Other Half

[1877] Mixing Social Issues and Environmental Awareness to Clear the Black Cloud


2007 - Making Social Architecture

ARGENTINA

[1886] A Communal Center for the Neighborhood Los Eucaliptus

AUSTRALIA

[1893] Making Architecture a verb...

CANADA

[1882] The Oput Centre: From the Tree of Reconciliation to the Architecture of Healing

[1888] Libraries of Unification

[1889] Community Rejuvenation in A Newfoundland Outport

[1891] Concrete Consciousness: Advocacy and AIDS in Toronto

IRAN

[1890] Fear of Walking

NIGERIA

[1880] Bakassi Resettlement Village

UGANDA

[1879] An “Adult child” school

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

[1881] Collective Deliberation: Rethinking the Role of the Architect

UNITED KINGDOM

[1884] Revitalizing Galt: Celebrating local outsiders by creating local traditions

[1892] A Center for Self Development

UNITED STATES

[1878] Re-presenting Public Housing: creating community in the East-End

[1883] Center for the Preservation of Gullah/Geechee Oral Traditions. Savannah, GA, USA Team: Design Corps

[1885] The Promised Land

[1887] Cohesive Sustainable Communities


2006 - Children and the City

AUSTRALIA

[1897] Our Children, Our City: Our future

[1904] I was always told but I never really knew that I lived in this city...

[1906] "PlaySpace Children's Theatre" - An Innovative Mobile Resource

CHINA

[1895] The Revival Of The City Wall and "Paoma Dao" Currere

IRAN

[1899] The utopia for homeless children!

[1908] Nurturing a creature of nature

PAKISTAN

[1900] Children on the Move

SINGAPORE

[1896] The Real Playground - A Park Dedicated to Children in Singapore

[1909] A City Playground

UGANDA

[1894] Discover the City

UNITED KINGDOM

[1898] Proposal for a network of youth generated community environments in the city of Glasgow

UNITED STATES

[1901] People to Know, Places to Grow: Children in Downtown Eugene

[1903] Street Perception: Children and the City

[1905] Three Feet Off the Ground

[1907] Advocates For A New Client


2005 - Memorable Public Spaces

AUSTRALIA

[1923] Promenade of the Flaneur

[1925] The Untoppled Omphalos

CANADA

[1911] Granville Island: Urban Oasis Amidst a Metropolis

[1921] Epicentre of a revolution: Kyiv's Independence Square, the place of political activism

INDIA

[1924] Lending Character...

NEPAL

[1910] People, place and events

[1919] The Perfect Public Domain

NIGERIA

[1914] What makes a place truly public?

SINGAPORE

[1916] A Public Space, A Heritage

UNITED KINGDOM

[1912] Iceland > Reykjavik > Laugavegur: City within a City

[1917] Royal Exchange Square

[1922] The Barras Market: An Exceptional Public Space.

UNITED STATES

[1913] The Belmont Tunnel and Toluca Yard

[1918] Character conflict

[1920] Largo do Senado (Senate Square) in Macau, China


2004 - The Architect Reports On Refugees, The Homeless and
The Urban Poor

AUSTRALIA

[1938] Urban Survival of the Homeless - Recognizing the Homeless as People of the City

AUSTRIA

[1940] Changing Architecture

CANADA

[1927] Productive Lives: Eradicating the Barriers

ISRAEL

[1928] The Right Path

SINGAPORE

[1937] A "more public" public space

SPAIN

[1939] Immigration and public space in Barcelona

UNITED STATES

[1926] (Dis-, Mis-, Re-) Placement in the Urban Realm

[1929] At Home in the City

[1930] Let's have dinner

[1931] A Tale of Tent Cities

[1933] A Home in the Homeland?

[1934] Address Homelessness Within Ann Arbor, Not Without It

[1935] Private Sector, Public Good: The Necessity of Economic Sustainability in Architectural Activism

[1936] The Anatomy of Community

[1941] Homeless Integration into Society through Urban Farms


2003 - Buildings That Achieve World-Class Status

INDIA

[1945] A Globe in My Bag

NEPAL

[1946] Beyond the physical realm (Fifth dimension of interaction)

UNITED KINGDOM

[1944] A place for familiar rather than foreign visitors: Project for a Bus Shelter, Koshirakura, Niigata Prefecture, Japan

[1947] The Price of Consciousness

UNITED STATES

[1942] Troublemakers

[1943] Place, Memory, and the Problem of the Architectural Image

[1948] Designing For Change

[1949] The Two Publics of San Francisco

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