The Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence endowment was established in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design to promote the investigation of architecture as a social art. Each year the PRIZE Committee selects a topic important to the understanding of the interaction of people and the built world that becomes the focus of the Essay Competition.
The Committee poses a Question on this website related to the topic. Typically, students enrolled in any accredited undergraduate architecture program or diploma in architecture program throughout the world are invited to submit a 500-word essay proposal in English responding to the Question. This year, architecture students must team up with undergraduates from allied arts and social sciences programs and submit proposals in teams of two. (For general requirements see the To Enter page).
From the pool of essay proposals received, approximately 25-28 are selected by the PRIZE Committee as particularly promising. The selected student teams become Semifinalists. These Semifinalists are invited to submit a 2,500-word essay, again in English, expanding on their proposals. A group of readers, composed of Committee members and invited colleagues, selects five-to-eight of the best essays and sends these Finalist essays to a jury of international academics and architects to select the winners.
At the conclusion of the Essay Competition submittals, all Semifinalists are also invited to submit for a BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship. Details for the Fellowship will be announced in the Spring 2020. Past Travel Fellowship Competition requirements, winning submissions, and follow-up reports by the winners are available to read here on the website.