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Student Pre-Perceptions of Integrated Design and the Role of Technical Courses in the Architectural Studio

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Architectural Division Technical Session 2

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Paper Authors


Amber Bartosh Syracuse University

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Amber Bartosh is a licensed architect, interior designer, and LEED accredited professional with two decades of professional experience. She double majored in Art & Architecture at Rice University and completed her masters at SCI-Arc where she received the Alpha Rho Chi medal.

Amber has designed and managed award-winning projects for competition, bid & design build processes in the United States, China, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Recent design work saw exhibition in the U.S. at Design Miami and in Italy at SPECIMEN and the Milan Furniture Fair.

In 2011 she moved to upstate New York from sunny California to begin her teaching career at Cornell University, and she is currently in her fourth year of teaching at Syracuse University.

Amber’s current research is invested in “mediated environments” – an exploration of the capacity of technology to arbitrate deficiencies and extend capabilities within architecture through digital, chemical, and virtual means.

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Bess Krietemeyer Syracuse University

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Dr. Bess Krietemeyer is an architectural designer and researcher focused on the ways in which emerging material technologies, human interaction, and computational simulations influence the design of sustainable built environments. Prior to joining the faculty at Syracuse, Bess was a HASS Fellow at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE), where she received her Ph.D. in Architectural Sciences. She has practiced with Lubrano Ciavarra Architects and with Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) on the design of international projects that integrate next-generation building technologies. Bess teaches technical and design courses focused on the integration of building systems, environmental data, and user feedback loops into design processes. She leads the Interactive Design and Visualization Lab at the Syracuse Center of Excellence (COE) where she conducts interdisciplinary research on advanced building technologies and human interaction using immersive simulation techniques. Her current research is developing hybrid-reality simulations for interactive design and energy performance testing at the building envelope and urban scales.

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Sinéad C. Mac Namara Syracuse University

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Sinéad Mac Namara is a structural engineer and Associate Professor teaching in both the School of Architecture and the College of Engineering of Syracuse University. She studied civil and structural engineering at Trinity College Dublin and Princeton University. Her research is concerned with structural art, shell structural design, alternate pedagogies for interdisciplinary education, and investigations to foster creativity and innovation in engineering curricula. Mac Namara co-authored a book Collaboration in Architecture and Engineering released in 2014 and her research has been published in engineering and architecture education journals, nationally and internationally. She has received awards for innovative teaching from Princeton University, Syracuse University, and the American Society for Engineering Education. She also engages in design and design-build projects as a collaborator with her architecture students and colleagues. This work has been recognized with awards from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the Architectural Institute of America and the City of New York.

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Student Pre-Perceptions of Integrated Design and the Role of Technical Courses in the Architectural Studio

Among those who teach technology to architecture students there is the perception that those students (and indeed the occasional studio critic) view the “support courses” of structures and building technology as ancillary at best and as an obstacle at worst. We worry however, that those students who fail to engage with this material are far less prepared for the real world of design and as practicing architects will cede control of their designs to engineers, contractors, and outside consultants.

The authors set out to study student pre-perceptions ahead of integrated design, a studio course required by most NAAB accredited programs that is typically regarded as the most significant opportunity for students to display mastery of technical issues through the vehicle of design. We constructed a study to evaluate students’ pre-perceptions of the importance of their required technical courses, the role of those technical courses in their development as designers, their confidence in their ability to apply classroom knowledge in the studio context, and their enthusiasm for doing so. The study was administered to 300 BArch and MArch students at _______University.

This paper presents the results of that study and a set of goals and assessment metrics that will be applied and tested in the subsequent integrated design studio course aimed at improving student capacity to deploy technical knowledge in their design work.

Bartosh, A., & Krietemeyer, B., & Mac Namara, S. C. (2016, June), Student Pre-Perceptions of Integrated Design and the Role of Technical Courses in the Architectural Studio Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25920

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