When integration goes wrong: Learning from the mistakes of practitioners

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This paper presents the results of research that was conducted by interviewing architects and structural engineering practitioners to find more specificity on the topic of integration among the two fields. The responses analyzed here are those that portray the undesirable integration missteps. The results yield a framing of integration that is narrower than one might expect. Two areas of poor integration identified by architects give particular insight into the structural engineering and architecture relationship: the improper intellectual framing of the project and the perceived conservatism of the engineer. For engineers, the responses centered on the failure of the regular interactions of the professionals and the lack of architectural leadership. Beyond the profession-specific themes, a comparison of the responses from all practitioners shows that integration lapses happen when the structure itself is too large or a lack of foresight causes errors to arise during construction. The opportunity to review and criticize examples of bad integration, especially when contrasted with positive definitions, demonstrates that integration is multifaceted. Small process-based missteps can color the way a practitioner views the success of integration in a project or work methodology. In comparison to positive examples of integration, which include hope, aspiration, and aims, negative factors show that, along with the ideals, the daily working relationship between the architect and engineer is equally important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number05016001
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Architecture
  • Integrated systems
  • Integration
  • Professional practice
  • Structural engineers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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