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Defining Architectural Engineering Design

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Beneficial Case Studies in AEC Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.402.1 - 14.402.20



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Paper Authors


James Mitchell Drexel University

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Prof. Mitchell has been Director of Drexel University's Architectural Engineering program since 1988. He was trained originally as an engineer (AB and MS Harvard) and has practiced as a licensed architect. Throughout AY2008-9 he has used a sabbatical year to visit all the US AE programs to explore the teaching of AE Design.

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

Defining Architectural Engineering Design

Abstract The question of what constitutes “Architectural Engineering Design” (AED) is addressed through an online survey of representative faculty at ABET accredited Architectural Engineering schools. The faculty are first characterized in multiple ways: university, academic rank, years of experience, registration status and discipline. The results of their open-ended definition of AED are examined using eight categories derived from the responses rated on 1-5 Likert scales, with the analysis broken down using the same faculty characterization. Faculty opinions about the disciplines necessary to include in AED are also analyzed. Overall there is general agreement that disciplinary “skills” are an important part of AED as are, to a lesser extent, the “products” produced. There is some agreement about the idea of “integration” of the disciplines and much less agreement on many of the other concepts, with several barely mentioned. Most faculty feel that their definition of AED is the same as their school’s, but many express uncertainty about the existence of a national definition. Similarly there is considerable agreement that more than one discipline (Architecture, Structure, HVAC, Electrical, Construction Management) is required to constitute AED, but there is marked disagreement about what specific ones should be included, with opinions ranging from two to all five. Introduction


Architectural Engineering Design (AED), who teaches it, what methods are used to teach it, and what are the issues that those who teach it regard as important. This paper, probably the first of several, addresses the questions: what are the characteristics of those who teach AED; how do they define it; which disciplines should be included in an AED course?

The work presented here uses data from an online survey completed by a fairly complete sample of faculty at all the AE schools (the data in this paper represents about ½ the schools and will be updated at the ASEE conference). It breaks that data down in a variety of ways, and presents some opinions and conclusions. It shows some areas of agreement, quite a range of opinions,

Mitchell, J. (2009, June), Defining Architectural Engineering Design Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4766

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