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Sustainable Development Capstone Project: Collaboration between Architecture and Engineering Students

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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

Design Across Disciplines

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1360.1 - 22.1360.9



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Paper Authors


Anouk Desjardins Écoel Polytechnique de Montréal

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Since 2008, Anouk Desjardins has been developing and teaching the ING4901: Sustainable Development Capstone Project course. She graduated from the École Polytechnique de Montréal (EPM) with a degree in Civil Engineering, and earned her Masters of Applied Sciences in 1999. She worked on engineering design projects for several years as a project engineer and project leader. In 2008, she joined EPM as a research associate for sustainable development projects, and as Instructor for capstone projects in Civil Engineering and sustainable development, and the Civil Engineering Freshman Project.

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Louise Millette Écoel Polytechnique de Montréal

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Louise Millette, Eng., Ph.D.

Louise Millette is, since 2002, the first (and only) woman to hold a position as Department Director at École Polytechnique de Montréal (EPM). After graduating in civil engineering at EPM, she obtained a Master’s of Applied Science from UBC and a Doctorate from EPM. An experienced environmental manager, she worked at Bell Canada for 12 years before joining EPM as Director of the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering. Very involved on the municipal scene, Dr. Millette chairs two committees of “la Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal”: the Environment and Sustainable Development committee and the Urban Landscape Committee. She is a founding member and close collaborator to Montréal’s First Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development.

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Marc-André Plasse _naturehumaine

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Marc-André Plasse obtained his undergraduate degree in Architecture with honours at McGill University in 1997. After working for several architecture firms in Montréal, he established his own architectural and design firm _naturehumaine in 2003. Closely involved in the academic milieu, he has been lecturing at the Université de Montréal since 2007. In the fall of 2009, he began supervising Architecture students involved in the ING4901: Sustainable Development Capstone Project course.

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Erik Belanger Écoel Polytechnique de Montréal

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Erik Bélanger has worked on the development of the course Sustainable Development Capstone Project. Since then, he has contributed to the evolution and the teaching of the course. He obtained his engineering bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Université de Sherbrooke in 1999. After graduating he worked in industry as a design engineer before completing a Master’s of Applied Science in civil engineering at École Polytechnique de Montreal. Since 2004 he has worked at École Polytechnique as a research assistant for sustainable development projects and as a lecturer.

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Sustainable Development Capstone Project: Collaboration between Architecture and Engineering StudentsThe ING4901 – Sustainable Development Capstone Project course is a six-creditpluridisciplinary project course offered in a fifteen-week term to students from alldisciplines in their final undergraduate year at École Polytechnique de Montréal. Thecourse is given since 2008. For the third delivery of the course, in the fall of 2009, anagreement with the École d'architecture of the Université de Montréal was established,and students of the École d'architecture registered in the final-year undergraduateworkshop were integrated to pluridisciplinary teams of Engineering students. AnArchitecture teacher also joined the teaching team to supervise the Architecture students.Students work in pluridisciplinary teams on a real sustainable development project,structured around a sustainable building, that involves water and wastewater treatment,local energy production, and the impact of the geographic location of the building ontransportation. At the time of this writing, the course is being offered for the fifth time,and it is the second time Architecture students can register for the course.This experience is very enriching, both for the students and the teachers; however itpresents considerable challenges. Indeed, all students (in Architecture and Engineering)are working in a pluridisciplinary context for the first time. They are encouraged to workon an integrated process design, and special attention is paid to teamwork andcollaboration between the disciplines involved. The students must propose a building thatintegrates mechanical, electrical, structural, and architectural systems. After the firstcourse delivery integrating Architecture students, adjustments were made to improve thecourse and the interaction between all disciplines involved in the project, specificallybetween students in Civil Engineering and Architecture. Nevertheless, integration of thedisciplines remains an important complexity factor of this course. Another importantcomplexity factor is time. Architecture students need to propose an architectural conceptvery early in the session to enable the other disciplines to move forward and complete theproject in fifteen weeks. Teachers also have an additional challenge, namely assessmentof the work. This is because it is essential to make differentiated assessments formembers of a team, since their work load is not distributed equally over time. Lastly,there are significant logistical problems. Even though the École Polytechnique and theÉcole d’architecture are both part of the Université de Montréal campus, course terms donot start and end at the same time, and the school breaks are one week apart. The courseprogram needs to be adjusted in consideration of this, to ensure there is minimal impacton the students.Course organization, learning activities, and strategies put in place to encourageintegrated process design and collaboration between Architecture and Engineeringstudents will be presented, as well as a report on the two course deliveries integratingstudents in Architecture.

Desjardins, A., & Millette, L., & Plasse, M., & Belanger, E. (2011, June), Sustainable Development Capstone Project: Collaboration between Architecture and Engineering Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18456

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