중앙데일리

Designers and engineers learn from each other

Jan 31,2015
Students from Hongik University and Aachen University of Technology in Germany discuss a honeycomb design for car floors on Jan. 19 at Aachen University of Technology. The students make cross-visits to each other’s countries during school breaks to complete a project. Provided by Hongik University
Park Seul-ah, an automotive designer, has worked at Audi’s headquarters since December 2012, conceptualizing the appearance of cars by communicating with in-house engineers.

Before then, she was a student at Hongik University. When she entered college, Park said she was solely obsessed with design itself, and never gave much thought to its functional aspects.

But a class at the university with exchange engineering students from Germany changed her mind-set, particularly when they had to collaborate to build a three-wheel electric bike.

“Designers easily overestimate themselves when stuck in a room by themselves, praising their design skills,” she said. “But by communicating with engineering students, I began to realize the importance of balancing design and function.”

Automotive engineer Ha Jeong-seok, who works on the design team at Hyundai Motor Company, also took the exchange course at Hongik University, in which he was assigned to make a guitar. As an engineering student, Ha said he was stunned by the ideas of the design students.

“The way engineering students and design students think are totally different,” Ha said. “Through the class, I nurtured my abilities to communicate with designers about [aesthetics and] the sense of a nice design, which many engineering students lack.”

Hongik University has been offering the product development class since 2008. The course aims to foster “convergence students” in association with the Aachen University of Technology in Germany.

The three-credit course, which runs throughout the semester, accommodates 30 students: 10 Korean engineering students, 10 design students from Hongik University and 10 engineering students from the Aachen University of Technology.

During winter or summer break, the students cross-visit Korea and Germany over 11 days to complete team projects.

“In the actual field, design and engineering students work together when making products,” said Lim Hyeon-hun, an engineering professor at Hongik University.

“But in college, the students rarely work together. We hope that the class provides hands-on experience so that they can apply those skills in an actual work environment.”

Aachen University of Technology, the largest technology school in Germany, proposed collaborating with students from Hongik after watching their outstanding performance at the PACE Global Collaborative Project Competition.

But getting into the class isn’t easy. Students from Hongik University are mostly juniors or seniors. Applicants are chosen based on their transcripts and foreign-language abilities.

“Most students in class stay up until late at night, especially when the time comes to finish their projects to visit both countries,” said Lee Geun, a professor from the School of Design at Hongik University. “Even though the class is tough, the popularity of the class doesn’t seem to dwindle because many students know the class helps their job portfolio and builds them a network.”

Although students from both fields work together, Lee said that the university doesn’t plan to integrate the departments into one, because in the most basic sense, “design is design while engineering is engineering,” and students are already busy enough with their own programs.

“What we value is the attitude in solving problems by working with people from a different field, rather than achieving professional knowledge,” he explained.

Many of the 200 students who took the exchange class now work at companies that focus on combining the knowledge of engineering and design, including automobile companies like Hyundai Motor Group, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Audi.

Kim Kyeong-tae, who works at KIA Motors Corporation, took the course in 2011.

“While designers have an eye for the external figure, engineers favor making mechanically-efficient products,” Kim said, recalling his interview for the design position at the company.

BY KIM KI-HWAN [ypc3c@joongang.co.kr]





dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장