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AE Studio: Beyond Pedestrian Access: Creating Bridges for Learning

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Program Criteria, Assessment, and Sustainability in Civil Engineering

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.148.1 - 22.148.33

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Paper Authors


Mikhail Gershfeld, S.E. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Professional Practice Professor,
Registered Civil Engineer,
Registered Structural Engineer,
Master Degree from Cal Poly, Pomona,
20+ Professional Practice and Management Experience.

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Judith Ellen Sheine California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Judith Sheine is Chair and Professor in the Department of Architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and an Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Distinguished Professor. She has won several prizes in design competitions and an Architectural Record House Award (1995) for the Sarli house and has published a number of books on the architect R.M. Schindler; she co-edited, with Lionel March, R.M. Schindler: Composition and Construction (Academy Editions, 1993) and authored “R.M. Schindler: Works and Projects” (Editorial Gustavo Gili, 1998) and R.M. Schindler (Phaidon Press, 2001).

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Gary LeMarr McGavin California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Department of Architecture

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B.Sc., Geology, UC, Riverside 1973.
M.Arch., CSU, Pomona, 1978.
CA Registered Architect, 1981.
Member, CA Seismic Safety Commission.
Member, AIA.
Member, EERI.

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  AE Studio – Beyond Pedestrian Access: Creating Bridges for Learning.The technological advances in digital technologies have made a significant impact on the fieldsof architecture and structural engineering. The trends in architectural design towards complexorganic shapes and the use of Building Information Models (BIM) have generated a demand formore creative and collaborative interaction between architectural and structural professionals.This level of interaction is, seemingly, natural and should be intuitively understood by seasonedprofessionals; however, it has not been an integral part of most higher education programs. As aresult, the effective communication between architects and structural engineers has not beencultivated in the typical university setting, where engineers and architects should have anopportunity to develop an appreciation of each other’s contributions to design. Too often,communication between the two groups does not start until the architectural design has beenshaped and changes to accommodate structural requirements are often painful and produce“patch-up” solutions. This not only does not serve clients and the public at-large, but also harmsthe spirit of mutual admiration that should exist between the architect and engineer. Theseshortcomings of the educational process are presently sometimes resolved in the workplace,often during a painful learning process. Although the on-the-job learning component ofeducation will always be there, it would be greatly beneficial to both professions if synergeticand creative interaction between architects and engineers were cultivated in the early stages ofthe educational process and appreciation for each other’s art were promoted and encouraged inthe university setting.The proposed paper will discuss an effort by the departments of Architecture and CivilEngineering at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) to jointlydevelop an Architecture/Engineering Studio (AE Studio).The pilot AE studio (ARC 499 and CE 499) was taught collaboratively by architectural andengineering faculty over a period of 10 weeks. The studio was centered around design of a 76-foot pedestrian bridge between two engineering buildings using timber as the primary material.Architectural and engineering students working in interdisciplinary teams performed joint casestudies of existing structures, developed preliminary designs and produced sets of designdevelopment documents, including models. The students started in small groups of two to three.These groups competed for acceptance of their preliminary designs, based on the quality of theirarchitectural and structural concepts. The selected designs were further developed by largergroups of 4-5 students, with the winning AE groups leading the teams. At both the preliminaryand final stages of review, the projects were critiqued by multidisciplinary faculty, universityadministrators, and practicing architects and engineers.The paper will also discuss assessment methodologies for the evaluation of student’s work basedon a combination of objective and subjective criteria, including professional ratings of content,aesthetics, constructability and maintainability, and plans for future collaborative courses.

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