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ENE Memo: June 11, 2012

From the Head: 6/11

The Year Ahead: Quonset Huts for the 21st Century

We are all too aware of the chronic space shortage in ENE. Other parts of the College are also pressed for space. A permanent solution is some way off. At best it takes about 4-5 years from conception to completion to create a new building on campus. Another option is to repurpose existing space across campus; this takes time also. While the College is looking for longer-term solutions, one immediate-term solution would be to build temporary structures on the open areas around Armstrong Hall.

Prior to the construction of Armstrong, our site was home to several Quonset huts from the World War II era. Purdue alumni reminisce fondly about the fun times they had in the Quonset huts doing chemistry practicals on Saturday mornings. As a testament to their versatility, I believe these huts were used subsequently by Art and Design. I think we should go back to the future by creating the equivalent structures for our times based on shipping containers.

Around the world, shipping containers are being used in imaginative ways to create interesting and visually stunning structures for many purposes. It is a whole industry. Here are a few examples:

Shopping Mall

Starbucks Outlet

Temporary Office

New Office



This approach not only provides a short-term space fix but also an opportunity to do some creative, student-engaged design. Perhaps we could create a system of temporary structures that can be reused around Purdue once a new building is constructed. As this approach is based on repurposing shipping containers, these structures are almost by definition green buildings. I believe that Purdue alums would be excited and may be willing to support the project with funds if we sell the idea as the return of the Quonset huts.  

While it may not be everyone's 'cup of tea,' I think that the Quonset Huts for the 21st Century idea offers an exciting way to tackle a pressing problem in a creative way that gives a nod to Purdue's heritage.

 - David

Calendar: 6/11

Summer 2012

  • June 10-13 - ASEE Annual Conference and Exhibition (This Week)
  • June 18 - July 12 - STAR (Student Transition Advising and Registration)
  • June/July - ENGR 132 Summer Section

Fall 2012

  • Aug 14 - ENE Research Advance (10am-3pm)
  • Aug 17 - New PhD student Orientation
  • Aug 20 - Classes Commence
  • Aug 23 - ENE Research Seminar, ARMS BO71, 3:30pm
  • Sept 28 - Inaugural ENE First Year Friday (A celebration of FYE)
  • Sept 28-29 - Alumni Weekend
  • Sept  29 - Family Day (ENE Booth)
  • Oct 12-14 - Homecoming Weekend (ENE Booth and i2i Learning Lab Tours)
  • Oct 24/25 - PhD Open House (TBC)
  • Nov 1 - 2nd Annual ENE Interdisciplinary Colloquium - "Where did I leave my chariot?"
  • Nov 2 - Engineering Education Industrial Advisory Council (E2IAC) - Theme: Research

National or Independence Days around the World

  • June 12 – Philippines - Independence Day
  • June 12 – Russian Federation - National Day
  • June 17 Iceland - National Day

Kudos: 6/11 Monica Cardella on being elected Secretary-Treasurer of ASEE's K-12 & Precollege Division.

To suggest content for future issues of ENE Memo, contact David Radcliffe or Lisa Tally by midday Friday for the following week's issue.