Observed best practices within a student driven multidisciplinary team-based architectural engineering capstone

Ryan L. Solonsky, M. K. Parfitt

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The design, construction, and operations of buildings fall within the architecture and engineering domains. Buildings are highly technical and critical systems that are engineered to performance levels that allow buildings to function for 100's of years. To achieve this, buildings require engineers and managers to be of a learned, regulated and licensed profession. While many engineering degrees educate building design, perhaps best suited for the task is Architectural Engineering. Here at Penn State University, architectural engineering (AE) encompasses: Mechanical HVAC Design, Lighting/electrical Design, Structural Design and Construction Engineering and Management. The pinnacle of the program is the yearlong capstone with inherent multidisciplinary aspects to it. With an industry interface, the capstone is critical to enrich the student experience in complex building design through simulating the project to be "more real world" than traditional capstones. This capstone distinguishes itself by the level of relatively independent work done by the student teams (vs. teaching by the faculty), heavy industry practitioner interactions, mentoring roles of the faculty and lastly, utilizing real industry projects. Original contributions for this study lie in having an open-ended design project where multi-disciplinary teams within AE are expected to develop project specific goals; select proper technologies, processes and infrastructures to support achieving these goals; then performing parametric and integrative design evolutions through cyclic iterations that focus on the goals and not specific disciplines. This paper describes trends and successes we have observed throughout our 9 years of offering this team based approach. Specifically how technology and collaborative processes were approached by the students, students' results on the topic, industry practitioner engagement strategies, and best practices for future implementation of similar offerings by other programs will be covered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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