2022 Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Design Excellence

Deadline: November 1, 2021.

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. 


You have been asked to design a housing project for the disadvantaged in your  local community. What do you need to know to insure that your design will both reflect the lives and aspirations of those for whom you design and for the project to be a proud, long-term addition to the fabric of your community?


  1. The competition is open to all current full-time registered students in an undergraduate architecture degree program or undergraduates majoring in architecture in accredited schools of architecture worldwide. Diploma in Architecture students who have not yet completed their Diploma are also eligible.
  2. This year’s special team opportunity urges and recommends that you team with a full-time undergraduate social sciences student at your college or university or equally-accredited college or university in your local community in which you reside. Two students maximum may collaborate. Both of their names must appear on their Proprosal and potential Essay.  If awarded a prize, the prize is to be equally shared. 
  3. If you are and undergradute architecture student who wishes to submit a Proposal and potential Essay without the equal work of a social science team member, you are permitted to do so and submit as an individual.  This year, however, you are not permitted to team with another architecture student.
  4. Essays must be submitted in English.
  5. Finalists will be required to provide proof of current registration in the form of copies of actual school transcripts. You are still eligible to compete if you were an undergraduate student on September 15, 2021, but graduate before the awards are scheduled to be given.


There is a total prize of 35,000USD, minimum 8,500USD first prize.  The remaining purse is to be allocated at the discretion of the Jury.


  1. This year you are asked to include TWO digital photographs that you have copied from any of this year’s posted topic Resources or similar resources that has influenced your Proposal. One of the photographs should help support the argument you make in your Proposal as to an issue you believe needs to addressed in providing housing for the disadvantaged.
  2. The other photograph should help support the argument you make for the proposed response. A brief caption – 50 words maximum – should accompany the photograph telling us what the photo represents and the source of the photograph. 


Judging for the essay competition is on a numeric system. The members of the BERKELEY PRIZE Committee are asked to evaluate each essay in terms of the following criteria:

  1. Does the Proposal address the Question?
  2. How creative, or creatively developed, is the Proposal?
  3. Would the Proposal be clear to a broad audience?
  4. How does the Proposal rank in terms of writing style?
  5. How socially significant is the Proposal?
  6. What is the potential for developing this Proposal into a strong essay?


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