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Mixing the disciplines early on builds respect

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Since 1988, the building design engineering course at the University of Strathclyde has been integrating - in a design studio environment - architectural students and structural, civil and environmental engineering students. The aim has been to produce more creative engineers, alongside architects who understand the benefits of engaging with engineers at the concept or pre-concept stage.

The continuous interaction over the four-year course builds a culture of mutual respect. If this approach has efficiency benefits downstream, that is good, but it is much more important to have a range of viewpoints, generating and evaluating a variety of design approaches, at the outset of a project.

The days of the prima donna architect are long gone. The categorical imperative to design bio-climatic architecture will drive the new design agenda.

Teams will generate better solutions. Just look at how every other creative industry operates.

Incidently, the undergraduate course is accredited by the ARB/RIBA (as Part 1), Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers, Institute of Structural Engineers and Institute of Civil Engineers. A new postgraduate masters course in Integrated Building Design will come on stream this September with candidate status for ARB/RIBA Par t 2.

Stirling Howieson, director of studies, building design engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

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