Asee peer logo

Facilitating Collaboration Of Engineering And Architecture Students Via An International Travel Study Workshop

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Collaborative Projects in Architectural Engineering Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.573.1 - 15.573.15



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Michael Symans Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

visit author page

Michael Symans is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where his primary focus is on the development and application of advanced technologies for seismic resistance of structures. His involvement in the Bedford Program began in earnest when he served as the School of Engineering representative on the search committee for the second Bedford Visiting Professor. Subsequently, he participated in his first Bedford Travel-Study Workshop in Spain; that experience serving as the catalyst for this paper. He is now a major proponent of the Bedford Program within the School of Engineering and anticipates future collaborative work with the School of Architecture to develop formal assessment processes for continuous improvement of the program.

visit author page


Mark Mistur Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

visit author page

Mark Mistur is the Associate Dean of Architecture and Associate Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he has been instrumental in developing a curriculum based on the inclusion of theoretical, design, and technical intelligences as necessarily integral to a progressive architectural design. His teaching and research focuses on innovations driven both by performance criteria and the integration of technology with design, but remains as concerned with phenomena, the human experience and social consequences of architectural space and urban/landscape form. This is most notably realized in his leadership of Rensselaer’s fourth year Design Development Studio and Bedford A/E Initiatives which in 2005 received an NCARB Award of Excellence for the 'Creative Integration of Practice and the Academy'.

visit author page

author page

Bruce Danziger ARUP

Download Paper |

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

Facilitating Collaboration of Engineering and Architecture Students via an International Travel-Study Workshop


This paper presents an overview of a joint School of Engineering and School of Architecture initiative at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that facilitates collaboration between students, faculty, and practitioners from both disciplines. The program is presented with respect to its learning objectives and is described in terms of its historical development and the various components that contribute to its overall mission. The international travel-study workshop component is given particular emphasis in terms of its ability to expose students to best practices which rely upon cross-disciplinary intelligence and to foster collaborative work among engineering and architecture students as a precedent to the same in their professional lives and careers. This paper is primarily of a descriptive nature, including an informal assessment of the overall program with emphasis on the travel-study workshop.


The development of substantive collaborative activities between engineering and architecture students can be challenging, especially given the natural reluctance among students (and disincentives for faculty) to embed themselves in study outside their discipline. Constructive interdisciplinary interactions can be facilitated via formal programs that structure collaborative interactions between these groups of students, especially under the leadership of instructors with relevant field experience. At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, such a program (the Bedford Program) exists and has been in operation for more than ten years. It is a joint School of Engineering and School of Architecture program that focuses on investigations of progressive architecture and engineering practice and the various and emerging interdisciplinary approaches to design. The full program consists of three component initiatives that are led by a visiting professor from architectural engineering practice. The activities that are coordinated by the visiting professor include an interdisciplinary seminar, a collaborative design studio, and an international travel workshop. The semester-long seminar course exposes a balance of architecture and civil (structural) engineering students to progressive contemporary and historic architectural projects and practices that have relied upon significant collaborations between architects and engineers. The Bedford Studio teams upper level architecture and engineering students in the design of a building through the design development phase with an emphasis on systems integration in the early design phases of an architectural project. The third initiative, also coordinated by the Bedford Visiting Professor, consists of an international travel-study workshop which annually seeks out and visits concentrations of exemplary buildings and practices. In recent years, the travel-study workshop has been held in major cities in England, Germany, France, Japan and most recently, Spain.

This paper provides an overview of the Bedford Program with a particular focus on the international travel-study workshop component. Emphasis is given to the ability of the program to foster collaborative work among engineering and architecture students and the student experience during the most recent ten-day travel-study program in Spain. Furthermore, a brief

Symans, M., & Mistur, M., & Danziger, B. (2010, June), Facilitating Collaboration Of Engineering And Architecture Students Via An International Travel Study Workshop Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16636

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015