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Structural Engineering Integration into Architecture Studios

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Educational Strategies in Architectural Engineering

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Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1407.1 - 26.1407.12



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Paper Authors

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James B Guthrie P.E. California Polytechnic State University

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Structural Engineering Integration into Architecture StudiosIt is important that Architecture students graduate with a strong foundation in structuralengineering. The College of Architecture and Environmental Design at XX University hasaddressed this potential gap through extensive interaction between the Architectural Engineering(ARCE) and the Architecture Departments (ARCH), two of five departments located within thecollege. The ARCE Department has traditionally taught a sequence of five structural courses toARCH students with the goal of giving them structural engineering skills so that in their careersas project leaders they will better understand structural engineering systems and principles. Withthis ability they can better produce efficient integrated designs, collaborate effectively with theirstructural engineering consultants and lead more successful projects.Although the five course structural sequence has been comprehensive and has given theArchitecture students the skills needed to develop and design structural systems, someArchitecture faculty observed that these lessons were not consistently integrated into theArchitecture Department’s design studios. It appeared that the structure was a separate andisolated topic. As part of a larger reconfiguration of the five course structural sequence, aculminating structural course was created that would provide this structural integration.This new course, Structural Integration in Architecture, has some traditional structural content.However the unique aspect of this course is the integration of ARCE faculty into Architecturestudios. Each ARCE section is associated with two Architecture studios (typically a total of 35 to40 students) and the ARCE faculty works with each Architecture student to develop structuralsystems for his or her studio project. The Architecture studios occur over two quarters and theStructural Integration in Architecture course occurs in the second quarter. During this secondquarter, the structural systems are developed over the course of three project assignments. Thegravity load system is developed first, followed by the lateral load resisting system. The thirdproject assignment is the development of cladding system framing and connections that arecoordinated with the building structure. The development of these structural systems can requiresignificant ARCE faculty involvement and significant student time, especially if the buildingstructure was not anticipated in the early architectural design. However the results were wellworth the effort. An end-of-quarter student survey revealed very favorable results with the vastmajority of students saying they thought “(their) architectural concept was improved by theintegration of structure”.This paper will address the background of the course, its learning outcomes, content, teachingapproaches and class materials. It will describe how it was successfully integrated with theArchitecture studios and lessons learned.

Guthrie, J. B. (2015, June), Structural Engineering Integration into Architecture Studios Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24744

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