Asee peer logo

The Dormatechture Project: An Interdisciplinary Educational Experience

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

15.1220.1 - 15.1220.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Bekir Kelceoglu Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

author page

Mary Ann Frank Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

author page

David Cowan Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

author page

David Goodman Indiana University Purdue Unversity Indianapolis (IUPUI)


Cluny Way College of the North Atlantic

visit author page

Project Leader for Service Learning
Engineering Technology Centre

visit author page

author page

Joseph Tabas Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis


J. Craig Greene College of the North Atlantic

visit author page

Instructor AET
Ridge Road Campus

visit author page

author page

Patricia Fox Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

author page

Sandi Perlman Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

Download Paper |

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

The DORMaTECHture Project: A Multi and Interdisciplinary Educational Experience 1.0 Introduction

There are many studies and innovative projects that discuss the re-utilization of shipping containers for the purpose of shelter and housing. For example, there are extremely large projects (e.g., Keetwonen, Amsterdam1) that utilize more than one thousand containers for the creation of experimental student living quarters. Similarly, in 2008, in Uxbridge, London, an eight-story, hundred-room Travelodge hotel was built using intermodal shipping containers2.

These are just two extreme examples of what can be done by using shipping containers in innovative ways. However, there are few, if any, projects that directly address the use of shipping containers for dorm rooms and, more importantly, self-contained dorm rooms that have a prime focus upon green, sustainable technologies. Many of the current projects (such as those noted above) focus upon the art of container architecture and there are few that go beyond the mere selection of shipping containers as a claim to their green and sustainable quality.

There appear to be several sources that discuss alternative, green and sustainable housing designs and methods (e.g., Gauzin-Müller, 20063; Stang, Hawthorne, 20054) as well as more recent publications that discuss the use of intermodal shipping containers for a variety of building types (e.g., Sawyers, 20085; McLean, 20086). These are often devoted to the glossy graphic display of innovative concepts and/or to the physical process of constructing various shelters. Similarly, there are also other contemporary sources (e.g., YouTube) that advance the use of shipping containers for the superstructure of various housing projects.

This project intends to advance the use of intermodal shipping containers for shelter both from a green perspective as well as from an educational standpoint. Once this project is built, it will serve to function as an educational repository of sustainable technologies. As well, through the design and build process, and with the help of cooperating institutions, this overall project will be attempting to ensure that each particular container and site becomes an opportunity for examining container use in a variety of climatic conditions.

Hence the DORMaTECHture project is much more than an alternative solution to public housing; it also becomes a classroom of the future: a living laboratory for the exploration of green and sustainable technology. This paper discusses the development of this project during the design phase and, in doing so, illustrates how it developed and created a unique multi and interdisciplinary educational experience.

2.0 Current Methodological Steps

To date (January 2010), at the lead institution, Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis (IUPUI), this project has utilized a series of qualitative methods to set up an environment for the exchange of ideas and development of research data. They consist of the following:

Kelceoglu, B., & Frank, M. A., & Cowan, D., & Goodman, D., & Way, C., & Tabas, J., & Greene, J. C., & Fox, P., & Perlman, S. (2010, June), The Dormatechture Project: An Interdisciplinary Educational Experience Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15991

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