UC Adds Comprehensive Lighting Course for DAAP and CEAS Students

By:    Brandon Pytel
Date: June 28, 2018

Assistant professor Julian Wang, PhD, receives a $20,000 award to implement UC’s first comprehensive course on lighting.

Twelve images of interior of building with various lighting.

The new comprehensive lighting course will cover lighting color design for interior spacing.

Wang headshot

Assistant professor Julian Wang, PhD, will teach UC's first comprehensive lighting course in spring, 2019.

If you look at a nighttime map of the world, you probably notice one thing immediately: the light. Yellow-white light spreads across coastlines and converges inland, connecting cities like strands of cells in a living organism. Our very existence on Earth feels confirmed by the light you see from space.  

It’s no surprise then that light plays an integral part of contemporary building design and construction. Now, because of a $20,000 grant, “Establish Cross-disciplinary Architectural Lighting Education,” from the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education, Inc., the University of Cincinnati (UC) is adding its first comprehensive lighting course, an elective course for upper-level architecture and architectural engineering students.

“We wanted to create a course that gives architecture and architectural engineering students the opportunity to share knowledge and language across disciplines,” says UC assistant professor Julian Wang, PhD, who will teach the course spring semester, 2019.

A comprehensive lighting course is a great fit for these two programs because it integrates art and design with engineering and energy. UC’s reputable architecture program, combined with the only architectural engineering program in the state of Ohio, makes the university the perfect environment for a cross-disciplinary lighting course. Wang expects the course will also appeal to students in interior design, civil engineering and construction management.

The course will offer a comprehensive overview of several topics in lighting, including light aesthetics, light color, light physics, photometry (the science of measuring light), architectural lighting systems, daylighting, sustainability and the psychological and physiological effects of light.

In addition to lighting fundamentals and principles, the course will include a collaborative design project. This project will again focus on interdisciplinary interaction, allowing students from different academic backgrounds to communicate and work together toward a final project that incorporates fundamental skills into practical designs.

window with thermal analysis.

A part of lighting curriculum is glare analysis and visual comfort studies.

Wang has a doctoral degree in building physics from Tianjin University in China and another doctoral degree in architecture with a focus in sustainable design from Texas A&M University. He researches how to integrate emerging lighting and window technologies into user-centered design processes and energy efficiency in buildings. The course will give Wang a chance to teach students this emerging technology in the lighting field.

Wang is currently developing wearable devises for smart living and indoor comfort. By creating logarithms that track human comfort-related behaviors, Wang observes how lighting and human behavior interact. Wang can then take these observations and adjust lighting to satisfy individual needs and influence productivity.  

One of Wang’s research projects involves photon energy conversion and energy-efficient windows. In collaboration with a materials science professor, Wang studies the application of spectrally selective film to windows. This film spectrally absorbs radiation from sunlight and converts it into thermal energy to be used for heating.

“When we talk about lighting, we cannot avoid talking about energy and, therefore, sustainability,” says Wang.  

From improving aesthetics and functionality to influencing human experiences and interactions, architects and engineers can use lighting for many different purposes. When Wang brings his research into the classroom, students are sure to see things in a different light.

museum interior next to thermal museum interior.

Researchers can use high-dynamic-range imaging to determine how much light is reaching a building's interior.