APDesign professor earns Educator of Year honor
Monday, Dec. 16, 2013
MANHATTAN -- Innovative, award-winning and caring. That's how colleagues at Kansas State University's College of Architecture, Planning & Design describe Nathan Howe, the 2013 recipient of the Educator of the Year award from the Kansas City chapter of the American Institute of Architects, or AIAKC.
Howe, an assistant professor of architecture, received the honor at an awards ceremony Dec. 10 in Kansas City, Mo. The award is presented for outstanding dedication and support of excellence in architecture education.
"Nathan Howe is an incredibly inventive faculty member, one capable of tying together his expertise in digital fabrication to teaching, design research and service to advance learning, design and building production while serving the public good," said Tim de Noble, dean of the college, which is also known as APDesign.
"What makes Nathan an outstanding educator is that he shares his personal passion for architecture so directly with his students," said Matthew Knox, professor and head of the college's architecture department.
Howe's creative use of technology in the design fields is among the reasons cited for his selection for the award. After serving as an assistant visiting professor, Howe earned a job with the architecture department's faculty in 2005 and was charged with leading the college's technology efforts. He began teaching the college's first design fabrication studio that same year. Along with digital fabrication, he also teaches parametric modeling and processes. His efforts have helped the college acquire the latest in design technology, including a CNC mill, or computer numerical controlled machine for making complex parts; 3-D printers; laser cutters; modeling software; and more.
Digital fabrication allows the architect to join design with construction production.
"I want to help students be on the cutting edge of practice, perhaps even pushing the practices where they're hired to join the digital fabrication party," Howe said. "With digital fabrication, it's about how all these fantastic devices can help take architecture directly to fabrication. It's allowed us to push design in new and different directions than we could have achieved even five or 10 years ago."
According to de Noble, Howe practices what he teaches.
"He effectively involves students in local design-build projects as well as in design competitions, aligning curricular imperatives within our accredited programs with opportunities in the world outside of the academy," de Noble said. "These include leading a team of four students in winning the Seger Park Spray Feature International Competition in Philadelphia in 2011, as well as a wounded warrior project for a ramp at a church in Eskridge, Kan."
Winning the Philadelphia competition and doing the ramp project would not have been possible without the use of the digital production technologies that Howe helped introduce and teach, de Nobel said.
"Professor Howe championed the acquisition of the CNC mill. He envisioned the potency of this machine and the processes we could engage in with it," de Noble said. "As a lifelong advocate of the importance of design thinking and leadership, I am pleased to see how Professor Howe continues to set an example for our students by expanding the notion of design practice into the realm of fabrication and installation. His recognition by AIAKC reflects not only his quality as an educator of students, but as one pushing the boundaries of the profession."
Howe earned his Bachelor of Architecture from Kansas State University in 1997 and his Master of Architecture from the University of Texas, Austin in 2002.
The American Institute of Architects is the largest and most influential association for architects, interns and those directly involved in the practice of architecture. The Kansas City chapter represents more than 950 members within in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri.