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For Stage One, which closed March 18, young professionals were challenged to write a 500-word proposal for an essay on the following statement and multi-part question:

    "Graduates should be knowledgeable teachers and listeners, prepared to talk with clarity and understanding to clients and communities about how architecture might contribute to creating...a more wholesome and happy human condition for present and future generations."

    --Boyer & Mitgang, Building Community
    Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1996: 129.

    How successful is contemporary architectural practice at engaging the general public? Do architects have a responsibility to do so? What roles can young professionals play in communicating the value of architecture and design? How might the public understanding of architects and architecture change as a result?

The written exploration of this multi-part question should address all elements of the statement. Participants are encouraged to include personal allegories and experiences as illustrations of broader themes. However, essays should not consist solely of personal stories; nor should they necessarily exclude them.

The 500-word essay proposal was intended to be an abstract for a longer piece. If selected to advance on to Stage Two, semifinalists will be asked to write a 2,000-word essay further developing the ideas of the 500-word proposal.

essay submission system

The 2005 online submission system for Stage One is now closed.

submission guidelines

Proposals and essays will be judged for content, clarity, and specificity. Content refers to the overall theme of the proposal; clarity includes coherence, grammar, and spelling; and specificity is meant with respect to how the competition questions and theme are addressed.

All essays will be blind-reviewed. References to specific individuals, firms, or schools, which may reveal the author's identity are discouraged. Additionally, all quotes and reference sources must be properly cited.

For Stage One, the competition committee recommends that entrants frame the essay with a clear introduction of what is covered in the text and a conclusion that summarizes the main points and direction for further exploration. All essays must be original and not previously published elsewhere.

Upon registration each entrant will receive a username and password. This will allow participants to refine entries during the Stage One submission period. We recommend that the essays be written using Microsoft Word or a comparable word-processing program, and pasted into the submission box. Be sure to check for grammar and spelling; clarity counts.

"Writing skills were cited as a weakness by 66% of administrators, 65% of faculty, 42% of students, and 59% of alumni."
--Ernest Boyer & Lee Mitgang, Building Community, p.70

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