Lighting the way

A picture of Kevin Houser presenting.

Architectural engineers play a crucial role in constructing today’s more resilient and efficient buildings. However, until this year, there has not been a degree offering in the Pacific Northwest.

“Our region is underserved,” said Kevin Houser, professor of architectural engineering. “There’s a big opportunity for Oregon State University to populate regional firms with the knowledge of architectural engineers.”

Houser came to Oregon State from Penn State in fall 2019 as the first faculty member in AE. His research focuses on human perceptual and biological response to light, especially as a function of light spectrum.

“We are in the midst of a major transition in lighting, from lighting as an analog technology to lighting as a solid-state technology,” Houser said. “This shift is as big as the one that occurred in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when the world transitioned from gas light to incandescent light. Today’s transition may be even more transformative because it includes how light is generated, as with LEDs, and how light is digitally controlled.”

Houser is turning his office into a teaching laboratory, where he can demonstrate the fundamentals of lighting and AE to students.

“My office will become a 3D immersion experience that I can share with students,” Houser said. “I will be able to go through different scenes and tell a story about light—what it is, how it reveals architectural form through shade, shadow, and highlight, and how it creates color in objects. Light is fun!”

In addition to lighting, the AE program provides students with breadth and depth in other areas, including structural systems; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems; and electrical and lighting systems.

by Johanna Carson
Civil and Construction Engineering News, Winter 2020

Dec. 31, 2019

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