The Fifthteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2013
Berkeley Prize 2013

Stage 2: Semifinalists

We are happy to announce that, because of the large number of submittals and their high quality, we have expanded this years' number of Semifinalists.  One hundred fifty two students from 26 countries entered this year's competition. 

From these submittals, thirty-five authors from 17 countries have been advanced to the Semifinalist round (Stage Two) of the BERKELEY PRIZE 2013 competition.   Semifinalists are now invited to submit a 2500-word Essay based on their 500-word Proposal.   At least five, but up to seven, top Essays will be selected for final judging by this year’s BERKELEY PRIZE Jury.

All authors, whether promoted to Semifinalist status or not, can login to view the Readers’ comments regarding your Proposals. 

New instructions for this year’s Semifinalists are included below.

Semifinalist Winners

Sophia Bannert

University of Lincoln

United Kindgom

Aditi Bhagat and Shantanu Vishnoi

Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee India

Raveena Chauhan and Arnav Moulik

School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi India

Bryan Chung 

University of Melbourne

Caitlin Copeland

University of Edinburgh

United Kingdom

Isabel Deakin

University of Melbourne Australia

Slavka Gancheva

University of Edinburgh


Ingrid Hansen



Racman Karin and Giada Attruia

University of Triest


Mathias Kato

Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi 


Priyanshu Mani and Abhishek Mandal

Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee India

Faiq Mari

Birzeit University

Palestinian Territory

Malvika Mehta and Joyjeet Kanungo

School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi India

Alexander Mohr

Münster School of Architecture, FH Münster


Risley Mwatsama

Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi


Samuel Nakumanyanga

Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi Uganda

Shefali Nayak

Piloo Mody College Of Architecture         


Forhat Nazib

American International University, Bangladesh


Mandy Oeni and Lim Zhi Rui

National University of Singapore


Daniel Olafsson

London Metropolitan University

United Kingdom

George Podikas

Oxford Brookes University      


Rushil Palavajjhala and Priyanka Sheth

Center for Environmental Planning and Technology India

Rashmi Priya and Rushwanth Raghuram

Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra  India

Hanan Qureshi

Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee India

Aparna Ramesh

Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology


Szymon Ruszczewski

Universita' degli Studi di Firenze


Disha Sahu

Sushant School Of Art And Architecture


Monica Landgrave Serrano

Universidad de Sonora


Insha Sharma and Kaustav K. Bose

Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra


Uzair Siddiqui and Aditi Veena Gupta

School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi India

Johannes Lionel van Suntum

Berlin University of the Arts


Piyush Verma and Parikshit Nema

School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal


Anna Vo

University of Technology, Sydney


Ben Wokorach

School of the Built Environment


Noel Woodward and Rahul Kapil

School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal 


General Information

We compliment all of the Semifinalists on the extraordinary diversity of ideas and approaches in response to this year’s Question. Such responses indicate the depth of interest in and concern for the social art of architecture

In Stage Two, you are to expand upon your chosen topic in 2,500 words. The BERKELEY PRIZE Committee encourages Semifinalists to improve the crafting of their ideas. A few suggestions as to how you can make your Essay more effective for both professional and non-professional readers:

  • Before you begin to write the 2,500 word essay, it is essential that you carefully consider the Readers' comments about your Proposal. These comments are meant to help you write a winning essay. Please read your reviewer comments in your Author Portfolio. 
  • An essay is different from a Proposal.  Your Proposal was selected because the Committee believed that it was a good outline that had the potential to be developed into an even better essay on the social art of architecture.  You want to do more – much more - than simply re-state your argument.  Explore and expand your ideas, the reasons for them, and the conclusions you have reached because of them.  Substantiate these thoughts with specific examples.
  • Remember:  the Question asks not only what is being done in your city to make it accessible, but what MORE can be done.  Talk with disabled persons who use these improvements.  Talk with those responsible for instituting the improvements.  Talk with the architect(s) and/or designer(s) who have developed the actual design solutions.    What more do they think should be done?  What more do you think should be done?  Be specific – and creative.  The best Essay is focused:  address the larger issues, but concentrate on discussing specific concerns that you have identified and for which you think you have some good solutions.
  • In answering the Question, the BERKELEY PRIZE Committee is particularly interested in responses that speak to the general public. If social architecture is to become the norm, rather then the exception, the public must be persuaded of the value of design that reflects human worth. If social ideas are to be realized, rather then simply discussed, the public must be persuaded that there is added value to initiating your idea as opposed to doing nothing. This means selecting a voice that is both your own, and one that is accessible to both serious readers and those who read only the "lead" points.
  • Ask a friend to read your essay before submitting it. Better yet, show it to two friends: one, a fellow architecture student; the second, a person not familiar with the discipline or profession. Use their input to revise your draft. If you can prevail on them, ask them to read your revised draft.  Ask them how your argument can be made clearer – it always can be. 


We ask that you include four (4) digital photographs of images that help describe the content of your essay.  One of these photos can be the image you already posted with your Proposal, but it needs to be re-posted.  The photograph should be no larger then 1 MB, and be in .jpeg format.  No more then four photographs will be accepted.  You can use a digital camera, a film camera (and scan the printed image), or even capture the image on a cell phone and transfer it to your document.  There is space provided at the end of the submittal form to upload the images.  Space is also provided to number and caption each image.  

In selecting these four images, imagine that a publisher or editor of an online blog, or a newspaper, or a magazine have accepted your essay for publication.  One of their requirements is that you supply four illustrations that help describe and explain the points made in your essay.  What illustrations would you submit that not only provided the basic information about your topic, but also help further your written arguments?  As part of this process, refer to these illustrations at the appropriate spots within your essay.

Remember, however, one of the primary purposes of the essay format is to test your skill in describing a situation in words, rather then pictures or drawings.  Do not assume that just because you have posted the photographs that your responsibility to carefully describe in words your selected topic is reduced.  To the contrary: use the illustrations to support and strengthen your writing.

Improving Your Writing

You have almost six weeks to produce your essay in final form.  Use as much of this time as possible to attempt to actively improve your writing abilities, particularly if English is not your first language.  Read some good prose written in English, especially essays, whether from the field of architecture or from other disciplines.  In architecture, search for articles written by architectural journalists and popular architectural historians who write for a general audience online, in newspapers, and in widely circulated magazines. Think about how they present arguments and describe buildings and places.  Use websites, such as to improve your English vocabulary, syntax, and spelling.

Avoid the use of professional language unfamiliar to many of your intended readers, except where absolutely necessary.  Above all, avoid jargon.  In describing your subject matter you might want to use this assist:  Imagine that you are describing the situation and setting to a person who is blind.  How would you describe the details of what is and what you think there should be to them?  (Given this year’s Question, this approach is doubly relevant!

Whether or not English is your first, second, or fifth language, again, do not hesitate to review your essay with an experienced English language-speaker and writer.  Use their suggestions as how to make your argument as clear, precise, and interesting as possible.  


Proposals due anytime before midnight, GMT, February 1, 2013

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