Awards & Competitions - International



Status: The current Edition is already closed. We will inform you about the next one as soon as it´s launched.

Who can participate: Full-time undergraduate students enrolled in any architecture degree program or majoring in architecture throughout the world

500-word essay proposal (Stage One): November 1, 2016

Essay Semifinalists’ 2,500-word essays due (Stage Two): February 1, 2017 – You can see the 4 African Semifinalists here.

Finalists´s Announcement: Early March, 2017– You can see the 2 African Finalists here.

Essay winners and Travel Fellowship winners announced: Mid-April, 2017 – 


For the past 18 years, the Berkeley Prize has encouraged undergraduate architecture students to expand their academic education by going into their communities and investigating how the built environment best serves and reflects the everyday lives of those for whom we design. In support of the study and teaching of the social art of architecture, the nineteenth-annual Berkeley Prize Essay Competition focuses this year on the theme “architecture reveals communities.”  The prize purse amount is $25,000 with a minimum of $5,750 as first prize.  The remaining purse is to be allocated at the discretion of the Jury.

College of Environmental Design undergraduate architecture majors are invited to submit an initial 500-word essay proposal responding to the question:

In your city, how do individual communities demonstrate their presence through the buildings designed to serve that group’s social and cultural needs and endeavors?

Approximately 25 semifinalists will be chosen from the initial 500 word essays to go on to submit a 2,500-word essay expanding on their proposals. A jury of international academics and architects will select the winners.

Students are highly encouraged to team up in pairs to collaborate as authors. An architecture student may team up with another undergraduate in architecture, landscape architecture, urban studies, arts and humanities, the social sciences, engineering or any other discipline, so long as the student is enrolled as an undergraduate. If two students collaborate, both names must appear on their essay, and if awarded a prize they must share it equally. Additionally, students are still eligible to compete if they were undergraduates on September 15, 2016 but graduate before the awards are scheduled to be given.

Semifinalists in the essay competition are also invited to submit for a Berkeley Prize Travel Fellowship, an award that recognizes the vital role that exposure to other cultures and environments plays in helping to demonstrate the reality and importance of the social art of architecture. Semifinalists may submit proposals demonstrating how they would use the opportunity to travel to an architecturally-significant destination, preferably to participate in a hands-on, service-oriented situation related to this year’s topic.

The 2017 Berkeley Prize Essay Competition jurors include

  • Architect Sangeeta Bagga-Mehta, Professor at Chandigarh College of Architecture in Chandigarh, India where she conducted multiple collaborative student workshops focused on the examination of urban landscapes, environmental design and social issues and member of the Berkeley Prize Committee;
  • Architect and planner Mark L. Gillem, FAIA, who is a Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Oregon, Eugene, Director of the School of Architecture’s PhD program and the Urban Design Lab, Director of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE), Principal of The Urban Collaborative, LLC, Eugene and author of America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire;
  • Architect Omar Khattab, Dean of the College of Architecture and Chair of the Department of Architecture at Kuwait University whose work includes major design work for the Care Centre for the Mentally Disabled and the Kuwait Autism Centre, elected representative on the managing board of the RIBA Gulf Chapter and co-author of Cities in Transition: Transforming the Global Built Environment; and
  • Architect Faiq Mari, a former student, teacher and Berkeley Prize Associate Teaching Fellow at Birzeit University in Palestine, the second place prize winner of the 2013 Berkeley Prize Essay Competition, member of the Berkeley Prize Committee and a current Fulbright scholar at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor studying the role of the built environment under settler colonialism in Palestine.


  • November 1, 2016: (Stage One) 500-word essay proposal due.
  • Mid-December, 2016: Essay Semifinalists announced.
  • February 1, 2017: (Stage Two) Essay Semifinalists’ 2,500-word essays due.
  • February 8, 2017: Launch of Fellowship Competitions for Essay Semifinalists.
  • March 12, 2017: Travel Fellowship Entries Due.
  • Early-March, 2017: Essay Finalists announced.
  • Mid-April, 2017: Essay winners and Travel Fellowship winners announced.


There is a total prize of 25,000USD, minimum 5,750USD first prize.  The remaining purse is to be allocated at the discretion of the Jury.

Registration and Submission

You will be asked to complete a short registration form which will not be seen by members of the BERKELEY PRIZE Committee or Jury.


For further information

For further information about the Finalists, please click here. 

For further information about the ESSAY QUESTION, please click here. 

For further information about Steps to Enter, Eligibility, Team Up, Photograph Requirement, Judging Criteria, Purse, Calendar, Copyright, Registration and Submission, please click here. 

For Additional Help and Information, and if you are in need of assistance, please email


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