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The Structures - Design Studio Link

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Instructional Innovations and Global Issues in Architectural Engineering Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1235.1 - 23.1235.11



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Paper Authors


Hollee Hitchcock Becker The Catholic University of America

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Hollee Hitchcock Becker is an assistant professor at the Catholic University of America School of Architecture where she teaches all Structures courses. With a B.S.C.E. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.Arch. from Kent State University, Becker brings a combined passion for engineering and architectural design to her teaching. Her current research focuses on the use of laminated bamboo structures for lateral load resistance in rapid replacement scenarios.

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The Structures – Design Studio LinkTeaching structures to architects is a juggling act between the technical and the creative. It is notenough to teach statics and strength of materials. Architects are creators of space and as suchthey must also understand the inherent strength and weaknesses of the vast array of structuralsystems at their disposal. There are three topics often debated between structures educators. Thefirst is the question of what should be taught first. Can one understand structural systemswithout first understanding the fundamentals of forces, load tracing, stress, and deflection? Onthe other hand, can one readily grasp the fundamentals of analysis and component design withoutunderstanding the concept of a structural system as an assembly of components working togetherto transfer all loads safely to the ground? The second topic of debate, stemming frominterpretation of NAAB requirements and differing philosophies of architecture education ingeneral, centers on the question of how much structural knowledge the architecture student reallyneeds. The third topic is the integration of structural design in the architecture design studio.It is not so much a question of if the integration should occur as of how the student is expected toapply newly learned structures knowledge to projects in the design studio.This paper posits that the application of structural knowledge in design studio is essential to anintegrated design approach and as such, the structures curriculum should be directly linked toindividual studio projects. Through analysis of the structural debates listed above, the paperdiscusses flexible curriculum components and multiple half-term courses to suit the needs ofindividual student schedules and correspondence to design studios. It also discusses strategiestoward developing studio links that reinforce the design of structural systems from the conceptphase of a project.

Becker, H. H. (2013, June), The Structures - Design Studio Link Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22620

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