Thirty eight design and engineering students have constructed 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, twists 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.

Course co-ordinator Graham Bell described the student experience as a positive one. "There were some philosophical differences as the students developed the frame and tried to make it structurally sound while maintaining the integrity of the design but overall we have found that the students like working together and have learnt a massive amount from each other."

The team project manager, engineering student Daniel Jones, agrees. "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."

Ed has been sponsored by Boral Timber, Visy Board, OneSteel, and the Ove Arup Foundation. It is part of the ConnectEd conference currently taking place at UNSW. International and Australian delegates will discuss research and strategies that address the promise and possibilities of design education that crosses disciplinary boundaries.

Ed, the Snake and the ConnectEd conference are multi-disciplinary collaborations between the Faculties of the Built Environment and Engineering and the College of Fine Arts.