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 creation of the Onera Prize for Historic Preservation. Generously funded through a private foundation, Columbia GSAPP will award the first prize in May 2018.

The Onera Prize for Historic Preservation will be awarded to a graduating student from Columbia GSAPP’s M.S. Program in Historic Preservation to conduct a project that tests new preservation theories in practice. The Prize will be awarded to the student whose project shows unique ambition, creativity and passion, and whose proposal is most likely to make a an impact in advancing preservation as a form of contemporary cultural production.

The amount of the award is $20,000. 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.

Professor Jorge Otero-Pailos will hold an information session on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 12:00pm in 200 Buell North to answer any questions regarding the application process.


Please deliver two printed copies of your application to the Historic Preservation Office at 413 Avery Hall by 10:00 AM on Friday, April 20, 2018. 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 comprise members of the Columbia University faculty.

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