Art and architecture have been the source of the creativity behind some of the greatest buildings in many parts of the world. Architectural engineering requires specific skills for one to perform certain roles. Architectural engineering is considered to be one the most valuable subjects in meeting the demands of industrialized countries (Stohlmann et al. 28-30).The US Department of Education (2016) estimates that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) will provide the largest portion of employment opportunities by the year 2020 .This is due to the continuous expansion of knowledge and skills in technology -related subjects. However, despite the several opportunities STEM subjects offer, the education department notes that enrollment in STEM disciplines remains low. The current status requires greater emphasis on STEM subjects and Architect Engineering forms an important aspect part of those subjects that will create job opportunities.
Architectural engineering involves several processes and procedures that lead to establishment of fully-functioning buildings. LaVine (3-7) describes the discipline as that which involves design (such as buildings, walls, and bridges, among others) of structures in a manner that respects the economic and environmental situations of a particular place. The designs make the parts of buildings to meet their aims without compromising the environment. The design and drawing of plumbing systems, electrical systems, architectural acoustics, the foundation of a building, building aesthetics, and fire protection systems are some of the activities performed by architectural engineers.
Owing to the rapid development of cities and urban centers, the discipline plays a significant role in ensuring that urban development takes into consideration the human settlement and housing changes of the 21st century. According to English (n.p, 2016), policy developers, educators and business organizations have put great emphasis on improving architectural engineering skills to meet current and future social-economic challenges. For instance, many buildings have been constructed to meet challenges such as congestion in cities through road and building constructions that factor human population issues such as expanding populations and increased use of vehicles on the roads. This has made towns more habitable and conducive to business activities.
Architectural engineering also helps to lessen the effects of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, among other natural disasters. Through research, engineers have been able to develop construction technologies and practices that reduce the chances of deaths in the case of natural disasters (Stohlmann et al 28-34). Engineering structures that withstand floods and quakes have received considerable attention in most parts of the US, Canada, South America and the Caribbean due to the frequent disasters in the region. Notably, the presence “quake-proof” buildings in parts of the US and Chile has demonstrated the significance of such designs in reducing deaths and destructions when hurricanes and earthquakes hit these countries (Minnery 131-39). Contrary, in Haiti, Minnery observes that widespread destruction during hurricanes results from the lack of architectural designs that take into consideration the exposures of the country to such disasters. For instance, in 2010, an earthquake of lower in magnitude than the one that hit Chile in the same period, caused widespread destruction and deaths compared to the small impact the Chileans experienced.
Architectural engineering pays a lot of attention to the environmental impact of structures. The building industry affects the people’s health, that of the planet and the future generations. This increased concern for the environment and future generation has contributed to building designs that limit the of greenhouse gas emissions(Altomonte 97) Eco-friendly buildings and structures have been put up to reduce the impact of harsh climatic changes that have been caused by pollution resulting from the heavy use of pollutant forms of energy. Since ecosystems cannot neutralize all carbon dioxide gas emissions, architectural engineers have embraced those designs that factor the use of renewable energy sources for the sustainable urban development (Altomonte 97-105). Also, architectural engineering helps to design low-cost buildings that solve overcrowding in poor areas of the country. These areas show a higher tendency to social problems and environmental pollution. As such, buildings that are geared towards solving the housing or settlement problems have been built as a reaction to the direct impact of poor settlements on the environment.
Architectural designs serve to sustain the cultural identities of a particular group of people. Some of the buildings in urban centers have their origins in the beliefs, values, norms and ethos of people. These cultural identities have been passed from one generation to another (Burley and Peterson 1-6). In this sense, buildings represent some form of the heritage of a given people. Through rebuilding architectures, engineers enable people to reconnect with past experiences. The reconnection may be expressed in the preservation of war graffiti, civil rights struggles or historical monuments. The expressions pass values and a sense of the relevance of the building towards certain historical events (Toll, 16 October 2014, The European).For instance, the regenerated Tower 2 of World Trade Centre (WTC) can be considered as a manifestation of a balance of events and rebirth. Equally, the inclusion of colors such as red and golden yellow in some Chinese architecture demonstrates deliberate attempts by the engineers to evoke traditional Chinese symbols while accommodating modern realities. Thus, it preserves not only cultural identities but also serves to show how modernity affects the evolution of cultures. However, it should be noted that architectural engineering does not strive to recreate the past (Toll, 16 October 2014, The European). As Tholl explains, the design of structures prepares buildings for new generations.
The technology of architectural engineering provides tools that enable learners and practicing engineers to explore and engage with the world and develop capacities to deal with issues affecting the world (US Department of Education n.p).According to the Department of Education, in a complex and globalized world, architectural engineers strive to design buildings that meet the evolving needs of clients. For these reasons, innovation is encouraged. Engineers become more creative not only to sustain their business but also offer solutions to some of the challenging issues affecting the human habitat. On a similar note, architectural engineering ranks among the best-paid professions in the corporate world (US Department of Education n.p, 2016). As a result, the huge salaries of engineers and profits of architectural companies contribute billions of shillings in terms of taxes to the US economy which, in turn, impacts positively on the socio-economic development of the country.
In conclusion, architectural engineering has a significant part in the social and economic development of the world. The profession encourages individual development through creativity and innovation. As the world becomes more complex, architectural engineering serves to design buildings that aim to overcome the challenges of industrialization as a way of delivering a clean environment for the future generation. Besides, the profession helps to preserve cultural aspects of a particular people through its expressions of values and memories. Moreover, art and architecture offer several economic benefits in terms of employment and tax remittances to the government. Although the industry continues to evolve in tandem with other major world developments, it remains behind compared to communication technology-related sectors. For this reason, it requires faster growth and development to remain competitive and profitable in a fast-moving world.
Altomonte, Sergio. “Climate Change and Architecture: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for a Sustainable Development.” JSD, vol. 1, no. 1, 2009, pp. 97-112.
Burley, Robert, and Dan L. Peterson. “Historic Preservation.” American Institute of Architects, 2011, pp. 1-6.
English, Lyn D. “STEM education K-12: perspectives on integration.” IJ STEM Ed, vol. 3, no. 1, 2016.
LaVine, Lance. Mechanics and Meaning in Architecture. U of Minnesota P, 2001.
Minnery, Rachel. “The Role of Architects in Disaster Response and Recovery.” The Public Interest Design, 2013, pp. 131-142.
Stohlmann, Micah, et al. “Considerations for Teaching Integrated STEM Education.” Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research 2, 2012, pp. 28-34, doi:0.5703/1288284314653.
Tholl, Max. ““Architecture is an expression of values”.” The European, 16 Oct. 2014.
US Department of Education. “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: Education for Global Leadership.” Home | U.S. Department of Education, 2016, www.ed.gov/stem.