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

Essay Question





 What have architects done in the past and what can they do in the future to help reduce the negative effects of climate and climate change?



Go out into your community and find two buildings that exemplify a special design response to one or more specific climatic conditions.  One of these buildings should be an example of traditional architecture in your region.  The second building should have built within the last ten years.  Tell us what it is exactly about these buildings that enable them to accommodate severe climatic conditions.  Using these examples, identify three rules of design that will help other architects design for climate and climate change in the future.

Ask your faculty, and architects and builders in your community which buildings they suggest you investigate.  Your on-site research should not only include visiting these buildings, but also speaking directly to:

  • The occupants and users about their experience living with the building;
  • The architect, designer, or builder responsible for the design and construction;
  • City officials or building department staff responsible for any governmental requirements for the climate-response portion of the design.

We are interested in the degree of your understanding about how climate is and can become a major design imperative as shown in the two buildings.  Your Proposal and prospective Essay should give us a sense of this understanding.  NOTE: You are required to reference resources from at least one category in the resource list below in order to sustantiate and expand your argument.  (EDITED: 12, December 2018)







By Donlyn Lyndon

Whenever we are indoors, buildings are part of the climate we experience. Through openings in their walls and roofs they structure our experience of the sun and the light of day. Those same or filtered openings channel the way air moves through spaces.  Walls and roofs condition the heat that enters living spaces. Transparent materials quickly transmit the heat of the sun and convey more slowly the temperature outside. When walls are thick and obscure, they absorb and delay the transmission of solar energy and ambient temperatures, slowly yielding warmth to the inside and releasing some of it back into the atmosphere as the day cools. Roofs offer shelter from all that comes from the sky: sun, moisture, rain, gusts of wind and falling debris.  

When outdoors, trees and vegetation often offer similar but less radical modifications to the climate, but not always, depending on the climate zone. Deciduous trees are especially benign, offering shade in the warm parts of the year and then shedding their leaves to let ...

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This list contains references to some of the best-known and geographically most widely-distributed resources on the topic of climate change and architectural resilience.  It should be seen as a gateway to the subject. 

You are required to select at least one resource from any of the categories (books, articles/lectures, and organizations) - or other pertinent and similar information sources - to support the research in your Proposal. (EDITED: 12, December 2018)

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