Undergraduates Explore New Design Ideas Through Summer Research – University of Kentucky College of Design
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Undergraduates Explore New Design Ideas Through Summer Research

As a Research I institution, UK students have the opportunity to engage in extraordinary world-class research and work alongside faculty mentors that are on the forefront of technology and discovery. Over the summer, a group of 12 College of Design undergraduate research fellows made the most of those opportunities by engaging in research and creative scholarship under the mentorship of numerous College of Design faculty. 

“Mentored research and creative work provide wonderful opportunities for students to  further investigate  what they learn in the  classroom while also exploring  new approaches to design and methods of inquiry.,” said College of Design Associate Dean for Research Lindsey Fay. “This year’s group showed great initiative in their research and creative efforts, representing a broad spectrum of topics.”

The 2022 faculty mentors represented the disciplines of architecture, interiors, and product design including professors Hannah Dewhirst, Daniel Livingston, Dr. Patrick Lucas, Jonathan Mills, SK O’Brien, Ingrid Schmidt and Helen Turner. Student fellows Audrey Alford, James Clay Ballinger, Richard Blevins, Allison Bryant, Caroline Bryant, Joseph Cox, Luke Daniels, Chase Faulkner, Rosalie Glenski, Mason Gohde, Danica Hak, and Lucas de Lima worked alongside their mentors to investigate various areas of interest. 

Following are brief summaries of select student projects. 

School of Interiors student Audrey Alford’s research studied  light, pattern, and shadow in a controlled environment to examine various atmospheric conditions. Through the development of laser-cut patterned screens and vibrant interiors, she assessed how various objects can be perceived differently based on lighting and contextual material. n. To gauge the success of this study, she asked students, friends, and faculty to participate in a short survey aimed at perception and material.

James Clay Ballinger, a student in the School of Architecture, examined how optical parameters can generate design through the capturing process of a camera by testing various parameters such as shutter speed, scale, diffusion, motion, and more. Arduino microcontroller units were used to control LED and servo motor behavior which were captured digitally and on film format. Ballinger’s exploration generated a library of design-driven imagery.

Chase Faulker (Architecture) worked with Appalshop to establish new critical design principles that aligned with their vision of a maker’s space: flexibility, interactivity, buildability, and maintenance. Incorporating hinging strategies used in his spring 2021 design studio, he created an innovative “maker’s pod” that could adapt quickly to changing programmatic functions throughout its daily use by hinging into three different modes: closed, active and display.

Mason Gohde (Product Design) looked into produce preservation in the home and how this differs across households. The goal was to explore waste reduction and improve systems for keeping track of when produce is about to spoil – including tracking chemical changes in the air that would serve as early indicators. Mason believes that this work can be helpful to designers working to develop kitchen spaces. 

For her research project, Danica Hak (Interiors) considered the question: “How can interiors surpass the surface level feeling of ‘pretty’ and reach a more complex realm of emotion?” To explore this, she used a familiar scene: the theater stage. Through the manipulation of acrylic sheets, she played with the relationship between body movement, material, thickness, atmosphere, depth, perception, body, and light. She is excited to continue to explore the possibilities of this project with the addition of choreography.  

Lucas Lima’s (Architecture) work focused on architectural collage and placebo-induced nostalgia. The primary goal of his research was to approach experimental architectural representation to identify what visual characteristics of a space evoked feelings of nostalgia. His methodology revolved around collages using artificial-intelligence generated images to further distort architectural environments.

Mason Gohde and James Clay Ballinger will present their research at the Summer Research Symposium this Wednesday, August 31 from 4-6 PM in the Gatton Student Center Ballroom B.

Students who are interested in learning more about undergraduate research opportunities within the College of Design can stop by Lindsey Fay’s booth at the Undergraduate Research + Creative Experience Expo on September 12.

Undergraduates Explore New Design Ideas Through Summer Research

Lucas Lima    

James Clay Ballinger

Chase Faulkner

Audrey Alford

Danika Hak