Thirty eight design and engineering students will construct an enormous sculpture of a snake, nick-named Ed, on the UNSW campus to celebrate multi-disciplinary design education.

Ed, an imposing construction of triangles made from of cardboard and wood, will twist 40 metres up the University's Kensington Campus Mall, its five massive arches and five-metre-tall head dwarfing passing students and staff.

Its design and construction is part of a project that aims to give design students and construction students the practical skills to work together in the real world. Work will commence on-site on Wednesday 27 June and be completed by Friday 29 June.

Course co-ordinator Graham Bell explains: "It has been interesting to watch the students' different working styles. On the first day the engineers sat down and worked out how to make the frame structurally sound and nothing has changed for them since then. The designers have been continuously refining their designs and will be until the day that the structure is installed."

Overall the student experience has been a positive one, Graham says. "There were some philosophical differences as they developed the frame and tried to make it structurally sound while maintaining the integrity of the design but overall we are finding that the students like working together and have learnt a massive amount from each other."

The team project manager, engineering student Daniel Jones, agrees. "All engineers can design but we would never come up with something like this. Here the discussion about looks and how it works all happens together at the start. Everyone is working to their own strengths and everyone is learning."

The snake is part of the ConnectED conference which will take place at UNSW from 9 - 12 July. International and Australian delegates will discuss research and strategies that address the promise and possibilities of design education that crosses disciplinary boundaries.

The snake has been sponsored by Boral Timber, Visy Board, OneSteel, and the Ove Arup Foundation.

The ConnectED conference is a collaboration of the Faculties of the Built Environment and Engineering and the College of Fine Arts.

Media Contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media Office, tel 02 9385 3263 or 0424 580 208, Graham Bell, Faculty of the Built Environment, tel 02 9385 5737 or 0410 662 523