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Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2020 Essay Competition & Travel Fellowship -USD$ 25,000 Prize)

Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2020 Essay Competition & Travel Fellowship -USD$ 25,000 Prize)

Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2020 Essay Competition & Travel Fellowship -USD$ 25,000 Prize)

Application Deadline: November 1st 2019

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.

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.

BERKELEY PRIZE Travel Fellowship 2020

All Semifinalists are invited to submit proposals individually, demonstrating how they would use the opportunity to travel to an architecturally-significant destination, preferably to participate in a hands-on, service-oriented situation.  This is an exciting opportunity to explore a different part of the world and to participate in an organized project that will assist the winner in gaining a deeper understanding of the social art of architecture.

Travel Fellowship candidates are asked to submit a proposal for a specific plan of travel and study away from their academic institution during their Summer break for 2020. Travel must occur in the summer of 2020 (Northern Hemisphere schools), or in the winter of 2020 (Southern Hemisphere schools).

The Travel Fellowship provides a fixed stipend adequate to pay for a round-trip airfare from the city in which you are studying to the destination and back and to pay for lodging, food, and incidentals during your stay, normally enough for three weeks. Any specific program costs are treated as part of the overall stipend.

The requirements for the Travel Fellowship Proposals are open-ended. The BERKELEY PRIZE Committee looks for both an understanding of the opportunity that is offered and an understanding of the possible ways in which the student’s research into the current year’s PRIZE topic might be furthered by the travel opportunity.

The winning student(s) will be asked to write a Report on their travels that will be posted on the BERKELEY PRIZE website.

Stage 1: Enter

Steps to Enter

  1. Meet the Requirements listed below.
  2. Write a 500-word proposal for an essay on this year’s Essay Question, as posted.
  3. Provide one photograph each of your chosen projects.
  4. Submit the essay and photographs online.


  1. All proposals must be submitted by a two-member team.
  2. Essays must be submitted in English.
  3. Both 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 both of you were an undergraduate student on September 15, 2019, but one or both of you graduate before the awards are scheduled to be given.


September 15, 2019 Launch of 2020 Essay Competition.
November 1, 2019 (Stage One) 500-word essay proposal due.
Mid-December, 2019 Essay Semifinalists announced.
February 1, 2020 (Stage Two) Essay Semifinalists’ 2,500-word essays due.
February 8, 2020 Launch of Travel Fellowship Competition for Essay Semifinalists.
Early-March, 2020 Essay Finalists announced.
March 12, 2020 Travel Fellowship Entries Due.
Mid-April, 2020 Essay winners and Travel Fellowship winners Announced.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2020 Essay Competition


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