In the mid-1990s, BWBR launched the BWBR Prize as a commitment to both the profession and students in the region to prepare future professionals for careers beyond the classroom. The BWBR Prize provides students in the third year of undergraduate studies the chance to compete for a financial prize by demonstrating not only their work, but also their presentation skills and personalities in front of an expert jury.
The BWBR Prize is a gift that gives both ways: Students gain the opportunity to taste what life will be like after school and we have the opportunity to remind ourselves why we chose this profession.
The BWBR Prize involves a two-step process that parallels the process we professionals face when potential clients consider engaging us as business partners.
Faculty at partnering university schools and departments — currently North Dakota State University’s School of Architecture, Iowa State University’s School of Architecture and University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Interior Design Department — invite selected students to display their work during a campus visit by two or more BWBR employees. Those students who demonstrate the highest degree of design merit, thoroughness, organization and communication potential are shortlisted as finalists.
Finalists travel to BWBR’s downtown Saint Paul offices and present their work in front of a panel of jurors who evaluate each student using the same criteria for which they were selected as finalists. These interviews challenge students to communicate professionally and effectively, much as design professionals do in order to win work. The jurors seek to understand the students’ work and offer feedback as professionals.