Queen's University

Engineering students design classrooms of the future

 
2011-04-07
Pete Abbott (left), coordinator of the design challenge, is joined by students Conrad Behrman, Amanda Riley, David Hodgson and Anand Lakhani (left to right) in front of the site of the proposed Teaching Space Complex. The students will display their designs at a course awards showcase on April 11.

First-year engineering students have designed lecture halls and classrooms for the proposed new Teaching Space Complex as part of their course work.

“Even though we don’t have all of the technical skills at this point in our education career, this class challenge demonstrated how powerful our minds can be when we come together and collaborate. As students we have some great ideas of what’s necessary to improve the lecture hall and create an ideal learning environment,” says David Hodgson.

The proposed building at the corner of Union and Division Streets is a priority for the university. The university will move ahead with construction if the provincial government provides capital funding for the project.

Coordinators of the Engineering Practice course saw an opportunity to incorporate a campus building into their classroom collaboration exercise.

“The engineering program at Queen’s is unique because while it is very technical, there is an expectation that students will come out well-rounded. I am glad I got the team work experience,” says Conrad Behrman.
Classmate Anand Lakhani agrees the challenge gave him a better idea of what an engineering career involves.

“Engineering today involves working with different people from many different disciplines. It’s been great getting that experience in our first year,” he says.

The students found it satisfying knowing that their submissions will be part of the Teaching Space Complex Committee’s consultations.

“Hopefully from our work, future students will have a better environment for interacting with professors and doing group work,” says Amanda Riley.

Pete Abbott, coordinator of the design challenge and other professionalism and ethics activities in the course, has been impressed.

“As prospective engineers they need to develop trust and show a willingness to listen and be open to consensus building. And when that happens, truly groundbreaking ideas can emerge, which happened in several cases with this challenge,” he says.

The students will share their designs with the Queen’s and Kingston communities at a course awards showcase, which takes place April 11 from 2:30 pm until 4:30 pm at Grant Hall. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with the architect who has been hired with funding from an anonymous donor to complete an initial design for the building.
 

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