How do we bring students together to address real world issues and give them experience working in interdisciplinary teams?
A core hallmark of experiential learning involves giving students the opportunity to see how their work in the classroom can have a real impact on contemporary issues and concerns. At UT-Austin, faculty members are exploring ways in which students can not only see how their work could have an impact, but also how they might work across disciplines and in a context that they are likely to encounter in their future professions.
Across the globe, buildings and building systems contribute about one-third of anthropogenic global greenhouse gas emissions; designing and operating these environments efficiently is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, in practice, the design and physical operation of these spaces and systems are typically separated between the disciplines of architecture and architectural engineering. Dr. Zoltan Nagy (Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering) and Dr. Juliana Felkner (School of Architecture) brought engineering and architecture students together and challenged them to design a new Cassis Elementary School building such that it would maximize natural daylighting while minimizing the cooling/heating requirements.
As you can see in the video, the aim of this innovative project is to bring students from both disciplines together at a very early stage to experience the advantages of design integration and to learn how to work together to achieve shared goals.
To find out more about how UT-Austin is developing and sustaining similar opportunities related to experiential learning, feel free to explore resources and additional stories on the experiential learning section of the Faculty Innovation Center’s website.
Zoltan Nagy and Juliana Felkner
Zoltan Nagy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering. Dr. Nagy’s interests include architectural engineering, building energy and environments. Juliana Felkner is an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture. Dr. Felkner’s interests include the role of the built environment in addressing some of society’s greatest challenges through the efficient use of land, construction materials and energy.