Hannah Mahony-Hayes, Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering with Architecture

29 09 2009

What is the difference between Civil Engineering and Architecture? The way I think of it, Civil Engineers design and build  dams, roads, bridges and the foundations for buildings, among other things. Within Civil Engineering, you can major in Structural Engineering – dealing with the internal buildings structure. Will it stand up? What about in a fire? Architects design the look of the building and the layout of rooms, which will influence the air flow and heating systems, as well as the mood and feeling of the individual in the space.

Although this degree may seem to be directed towards majoring in Structural Engineering, you can choose any Civil major. The design skills you gain will also develop the way you think about a problem. Understanding the role and practice of an architect is useful in collaborative projects. Engineers work in teams so it is important to build good communication and teamwork skills, and to learn to respect the diversity of your team members.

I’m currently in my 2nd year of a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Architecture. I chose this degree because I had been really interested in architecture when I was younger but I also discovered in high school that I really like maths, science and the challenges and satisfaction of that kind of problem solving. At the university Open Day, I realised that I wanted to be a civil engineer in a collaborative team working on new structures that pushed the boundaries of standard buildings and bridges today.

Engineers look at problems through maths, mechanics and materials while architects observe and solve problems through drawings, models and writing to find the new imaginative idea for their design. The combination of these two different approaches means you learn to balance and switch between different ways of thinking about a problem, which creates innovative solutions.

The Civil Engineering with Architecture degree program can be a lot of work at times, and it can be difficult to strike the right balance between civil study and exams and architecture designs and assignments. My first semester of university seemed like a blur, everything seemed to go so fast. I learnt so much and was making rapid adjustments to university life in such as short period of time. Some students decided that it wasn’t the degree for them and transferred to either Civil Engineering or Architecture. I had my doubts too but stayed with the degree and came out of that semester feeling really happy and satisfied with how far I had come and what I had accomplished.

Sketch of studio spaces

One of my design projects from last session: Above ground studio designed for Rosalie Gascoigne and below ground studio designed for Tracey Moffat.

Above ground Studio

Above ground studio

Above ground studio

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Jerome Saad, Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering with Architecture

16 09 2009

This year has been a whirl wind so far!!!! It is flying past and I am trying to keep up!!

The first semester was a great experience and I was pumped as ever. That enthusiasm died about a week in when I realised how much there was to keep up with – but the more you persevere the more u start to love it – the friends, the satisfaction of completing cool projects, and the fun of running around the city snapping pics and visiting different sites.

Jerome Saad2

Bridge made from straws for ENG1000

The reason why I chose my course is because I loved the diversity it could offer. The engineering side of things is absolute! Maths, physics, chemistry, the logic of the way things work. You get to see their immediate application in the projects you take on. When things get a little too pragmatic, architecture comes to save the day!!

Even though first year only has one arch subject per semester, it still fills up my time and allows me the opportunity to express myself in other simple ways. During Enabling Skills in first semester, we focused on the Sydney Opera House and its significance as both an architectural and engineering wonder. I visited it plenty of times!!!! Just to snap some pics, sit down and experience it with some ice cream, or to take some sketches. This semester, Architectural Communications allows me to try different forms of expression such as animations, models, painting and sketching. It’s all a nice mix and a nice blend with other sciences and at times a relief.

Opera house - sketch

Opera house - sketch

Sydney Opera House - Structure

Sydney Opera House - Structure

Sydney Opera House - Structure

Sydney Opera House - Structure

I like that this course introduces me to both worlds and I hope to continue and complete architecture after these four years. Being able to design and construct my own projects and creations would be unbelievably fulfilling. Especially when I am my own mediator; no engineers to strangle for ruining the design and no architect to whack for not being practical – I’ll be both 😀 if not, I’ll understand how to deal with both better.

Jerome Saad

House by Mexican architect Luis Barragan (colour added for Arch Communications)