Professor Eugene Han joined Lehigh University’s department of art, architecture and design this semester as an assistant professor of architecture.
Han was born in Chicago but received his doctoral degree from Yale University and his masters of architecture from the Architectural Association in London, where he took on various roles such as diploma unit master and director of media studies.
Han served as a lecturer at Yale University’s school of architecture, in addition to working at institutions in the U.S., London, Madrid, Moscow, Vienna and Seoul, before he applied for the position at Lehigh.
“I think Lehigh is a fantastic place, especially for teaching,” Han said. “There’s a lot happening with art, architecture and design. While there are many good schools out there, not all are moving. Lehigh’s (art, architecture and design department) seems to be on the cusp of some amazing changes, and that’s why I was so eager to come and work here.”
Han is conducting research of his own while he teaches at Lehigh. He collects and analyzes data on how people look at images and spaces, and then he programs around that data to make his own designs.
Nik Nikolov, an associate professor of architecture at Lehigh, was on the hiring team for Han and is excited for the positive impact he believes Han will bring to the department.
“Everyone in the department of art, architecture and design is extremely lucky to have him on board and with us because he comes from a unique background, being both accomplished in a professional field as an architect practitioner, as well as an academic,” Nikolov said. “This is becoming increasingly difficult to do, and both his professional and academic experiences are of enviable pedigree.”
Han is teaching one class this semester, ARCH 210, a course that focuses on the history of 20th century architecture.
Next semester he will teach ARCH 2, another history-based course on architectural history from the Renaissance period, and ARCH 243, a course in which students build design projects.
Han said his teaching experiences prior to Lehigh differ drastically compared to his current position.
“I was helping to teach at the graduate level at Yale and in a five-year program at the (Architectural Association in London), and so both were catered much more to an all-inclusive architectural degree, whereas here, (the classes) are a part of the College of Arts & Sciences, so it’s very different,” he said
Katelyn McNamara, ’22, a student in Han’s ARCH 210 class, said she has enjoyed having Han as a professor.
She said Han is always looking for feedback on his classes and how the students think everything is flowing. One week, she said the class felt overwhelmed with readings, so Han made adjustments and scaled back on assignments to accommodate for the workload.
“He’s very interested in discussion, and we can tell that he cares about his students doing well, and that he just wants to make sure we understand everything,” McNamara said. “The class is twice a week, so he makes the first class a lecture, and the second is discussion-based.”
Nikolov said the architecture department has a small group of faculty to begin with and hiring new members happens relatively rarely.
He said Han brings a much-needed update to the curriculum.
“I was the last hire in the architecture department almost eleven years ago,” Nikolov said. “At the time, the joke was that I was bringing us into the 20th century because when I arrived, we didn’t really even have a computer lab. (Han), with his unique skill set, is really shooting ahead of our peers as far as what 21st century education is.”