UO Architecture focuses on Energy Conservation


Subhead: As UO Architecture students continue to emphasize their focus on sustainability, they think about their future careers and why it is important to stay motivated during the process of getting their degrees.

By: Maygan Beckers

EUGENE, Ore.-Imagine cutting out strips of paper and gluing them down to create a lighting model structure by Alvar Aalto to test for prismatic lighting, which are big triangular apertures that let light in through the ceiling.

Three fourth year architecture students spent part of their Thursday doing just that.

Students and faculty said that energy efficient design is one of UO’s most innovative contributions to architecture.

“There’s a lot of innovative programs going on here,” UO Associate Professor, Esther Hagenlocher said. “The focus on sustainability is the best at the University of Oregon.”

Kelly Mabry, Chelsea Oda, and Anna Galloway are planning on testing their model on Tuesday to calculate the latitude and longitude of the building’s location.

“We can possibly test it at the latitude Eugene is and see how effective it would be here,” Mabry said.

Learning to maximize energy efficiency in buildings not only comes from architecture classes, but also from The Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Living house (CASL.)

“The university purchased a house just east of campus,” Mabry said. “Students are retrofitting it so it can meet passive standards.” She said a passive house is a structure designed for minimal energy use.

According to Galloway, the architecture program is different because students work toward a professional degree rather than a Bachelor’s of Arts or Science degree.  Architecture students work towards a bachelor of architecture. Once they have earned their degree, they have two years of internship experience to fulfill.

“Then you take seven tests and you walk away with a license if you pass,” said Galloway.

With any other major, experience is crucial when looking for a career once students graduate.

Mabry is in the society of college scholars, which is a program that finds students a two month internship.

“I work for a professor and we are tracking the special and urban development in Rome right now. I’m working with documents that were published in the 1700’s and contain information from 500 A.D.,” said Mabry. “Then we’re compiling it in a computer program where we can layer satellite…and you can see how the city has changed.”

When her internship ended, she asked if she could continue working with that professor. Mabry has worked there for approximately two years now.

The three students said that there is really no right answer in the architecture program and that some class don’t receive grades because it’s subjective decisions that are being made in the process.

“We’re judged by what we show not really how we act,” said Mabry.

Mabry said that architecture students have a lot of options to choose from as far as a career goes.

Architecture students can do anything from working with theater design to designing the architectural background in video games. However, she emphasizes whether or not if she will get a job when she graduates because her job is heavily dependent on the economy.

“I would like to do anything design oriented, even if that means outside of architecture,” said Oda.

Galloway expresses how frustrating it is with the amount of time that she spends in the studio working on one project. She said, “If you want, you do it because it doesn’t change after this.”

Because things won’t change from the architecture program to whichever path Mabry chooses to follow, she said that it’s important to produce good work while she is in school so she has things to show to find a job that she is looking for.

Architecture students create a model to save energy by testing natural daylight.

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