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Onera Prize for Historic Preservation

About the Prize

The Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) is pleased to announce the third annual Onera Prize for Historic Preservation. Created in 2018, the Prize is generously funded through the Onera Foundation, and is awarded annually at the culmination of the spring semester.

The Onera Prize for Historic Preservation will be awarded to either a graduating student or a team of up to 2 graduating students from Columbia GSAPP’s M.S. Program in Historic Preservation. The intention of the Prize is to provide an opportunity to conduct a project that tests new preservation theories in practice. Selected through a proposal review, the prize will be awarded to the project which shows unique ambition, creativity and passion, and is most likely to make an impact in advancing preservation as a form of contemporary cultural production.

The amount of the award is $25,000. The project may be undertaken anywhere in the world. It may last up to six months after graduation and a final report is requested. To be eligible for consideration, applicants must currently be completing an M.S. degree in Historic Preservation at Columbia GSAPP. Students completing dual degree programs with Historic Preservation at Columbia GSAPP are also eligible.


Your application is due to the Historic Preservation Office by 12:00 PM on Friday, April 9, 2021. The application must consist of the following five items:

  1. The application itself, consisting of no more than 1,000 words describing the project to be carried out the year after graduation.
  2. An essay of no more than 250 words indicating how your proposed project brings a contemporary perspective to the preservation field.
  3. Current curriculum vitae.
  4. The names and e-mail addresses of at least two faculty members who have reviewed your proposed project.
  5. A schematic budget indicating the costs for the project.

The application should begin by stating the nature of the proposed project and then explain to the Selection Committee what you intend to do. It should include not only the activities that you plan to undertake but also how they will be accomplished, by whom, where, and when. It should also indicate why you want to do this project.

Be sure to address explicitly the three points in the above paragraph: (1) project description, (2) project rationale, and (3) expected outcomes. These three topics may be used as sub-titles in organizing your text. Proposals which provide a clear description of the proposed project and goals will be prioritized. The selection committee will be comprised of faculty of the Historic Preservation program. 

Previous Onera Prize Recipients

Sarah Sargent
Toxic Histories: Unearthing Buried Cities

Aura Maria Jaramillo and Daniella Zamora
Cali Histórica

Ethan Boote and Morgan O’Hara
Reflective Futures Poughkeepsie

Halley Ramos
Augmented Reality (AR) at the San Baudelio de Berlanga Hermitage