Integral design: the new necessary professional skills for architects and engineers for their role in sustainable development

W. Zeiler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The built environment is one of the most important areas to work on for sustainable development. The built environment uses 40% of our energy for operating as well as another 8% embodied energy by the used building materials and their production process. To fulfill the demand for Zero Energy Buildings there is a need for synergy between the architectural and engineering domain. New strong demands for a more sustainable built environment led to a more complex design process. To cope with this complexity architects need more support from specialized engineers. The different expertise of engineers must be used more effectively especially in the conceptual design phase to reach for new solutions. This has consequences for the role of the engineers involved; they have to operate early in the conceptual building design process and act more as designers and less as traditional calculating engineers. As a consequence engineers have to develop new skills. Also the architect has to learn to not only share his ideas in the conceptual design phase but to really open up his mind and to truly design together with the engineers. Important is that no longer the architect is the one that leads the design process but that the team of architect and engineers leads the design process: Designing becomes a team effort already in the conceptual phase of design. To support these diverse multidisciplinary building design teams we developed a supportive design method in cooperation with the Dutch professional organizations of architects and consulting engineers. This design method is based on the use of morphological charts and a morphological overview. It helps architects and engineers with their new role in the conceptual design phase as it enables to structure each perspective on the design task as well as to structure the available domain knowledge. After testing the method in workshops as part of a training program in industry, the design method was transferred and applied at the department of architecture for master students for their multidisciplinary Master project Integral Design. In these projects student teams consisting of architects and engineers had to design net Zero Energy Buildings. In the last 7 years several Master Projects Integral design were held and there was a continuous development to optimize the cooperation between architects and engineers. Our design method showed that it is possible to engage engineers within the conceptual building design phase and let other disciplines learn from them. Especially the results of the last three projects will be compared and conclusions will be drawn about the influence of discipline as well as the spread in the results due to the different personalities participating within the design teams. What does it mean for the development of skills for architects as well as engineers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2014), 4-5 September 2014, Enschede, The Netherlands
EditorsErik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
PublisherDesign Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-904670-56-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2014)
- Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 4 Sept 20145 Sept 2014
Conference number: 16


Conference16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2014)
Abbreviated titleE&PDE 2014


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