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A. Bernabeu Larena, J. Conde Conde, J. Bernabeu Larena

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
In the context of a postgraduate degree on building structures in an Architectural School, a classroom experience on structural design engineering is presented.

The presented experience is based on the proposal of ill-defined exercises that simulate real-world design process and involves both creativity and project decision making tasks. Teamwork, role-plays and critical debates are also considered and implemented.

The main exercise consists in the complete development, from concept to detail, of a steel structure, considering as the exercise data just the initial architectural drawings and intentions. Students are required to start from the very beginning of the project, with no other indication than the initial data and conditions (from location and geotechnical data to functionality and architectural requirements and targets). The exercise is therefore fully open, and students have to take their own decisions and go through the whole design process of the project according to them.

The paper presents the background, purpose and method and teaching techniques applied, as well as the evolution and developments of the exercise during the five courses where it has been proposed.

A student’s pre-post questionnaire, together with the exercise results in the different courses, is used to evaluate students’ approach and response, as well as to identify the main results and findings of the presented classroom experience.