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A Career In Building Design Education In Civil Engineering Versus Architecture

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Technical Issues in Architectural Engineering I

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.9.1 - 11.9.17



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Paper Authors


Claire Shigekawa North Carolina State University

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Claire Shigekawa is a sophomore University Honors and Park Scholar majoring in civil engineering and minoring in art and design at North Carolina State University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Career in Building Design: Education in Civil Engineering versus Architecture Abstract

In the construction profession, the trend in “transprofessional” discipline practice that combines structural engineering and architecture has gained prominence and the line that separates the different roles in the construction industry has already become blurred. The two professions are so interrelated that the industry values a background in both fields. Increasingly more universities across the country and the world have an Architectural Engineering curriculum. However, most existing programs emphasize training in Architectural Engineering with significantly less emphasis placed on structural engineering. In this report, I devised an undergraduate curriculum(s) at NC State University to build a professional career in building/bridge design with strong emphasis in both the structural as well as the architectural aspects. This plan may serve as a model for programs interested in a similar training path.

NC State University provides a unique opportunity with a strong faculty and testing facilities through a nationally ranked structural engineering and architectural programs. Many of the students with interest in both architecture and civil engineering are usually forced to choose one over the other. Without proper guidance, these students often lose valuable time and graduate with a single degree in either civil engineering or architecture. Therefore, I decided to explore and create a curriculum with an emphasis in civil engineering and substantial training in architecture. To accomplish this, I explored the undergraduate program content of the civil engineering and architecture degrees to discover fundamentals that are essential to making a substantial contribution to the professional field of building and bridge design. The backgrounds of existing architectural engineering educational programs, both national and international, were studied to gain a better understanding of the basic knowledge necessary for an architectural engineer. I researched the educational backgrounds of present leaders in the field of architecture, engineering, or architectural engineering to try and formulate an academic plan for success in a technical career. From all of the aforementioned actions, I formulated a program for my university using existing classes that could potentially become a curriculum for architectural engineering at NC State. In conclusion, I propose a plan for a five year dual-training program. I expect that this program would help future students who are interested in such a career.


Conventionally, construction professionals like architects and engineers occupy segregated roles in industry. However, it has been recognized that civil engineering and architecture are career paths that continually intertwine. Although the two professions are combined to achieve a single goal, a structure, the different aspects of the unifying goal are extremely separate, i.e. structure design and the mechanics of the structure. Very similar to the real world industry, undergraduate studies in civil engineering with a

Shigekawa, C. (2006, June), A Career In Building Design Education In Civil Engineering Versus Architecture Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--686

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