LAWRENCE —Henry Lennon, a University of Kansas student from Branson, Mo., has received the Academic Excellence Award for Architecture from the Danish Institute for Study Abroad.
Institute staff members select recipients of the award. The winners must have distinguished themselves not only through outstanding studio work but also for their embrace of Danish culture and the study abroad experience.
Lennon, a fourth-year student in the five-year Master of Architecture program, received the honor for his work at the Institute last fall. He was chosen from among 122 architecture students from 53 different American architecture schools.
He indicates that he not only acquired knowledge of the sleek, sensual Nordic design aesthetic in the classroom but says, “We gained the experience of living within that Danish design philosophy.
“It was wonderful to use their nicely designed appliances to make breakfast every morning, to go to school on a beautiful public transportation system, all the while surrounded by people who really care about how things look and function” he said.
Nils Gore, interim chair of the Department of Architecture, notes that the department places such a high value on the experience Lennon had that, “Some study abroad is mandatory for all who pursue our first professional degree, the Master of Architecture.”
KU has sent students to participate in the Institute’s programs since 1984. The institute is affliated with the University of Copenhagen and offers study in 20 academic disciplines other than architecture.
Studying with other American architecture students also gave Lennon some perspective on what he has learned at KU.
“It made me realize what a unique architecture program we have,” he said. “Once we began to design, it was clear that KU’s students had something that students from other American universities were lacking.
“We had a sense of practicality," he said. “One could actually sense how an individual would experience the spaces in the buildings we designed. I truly believe that the way our professors have shaped the way we think about design gives us something others don’t have.”
After graduation Lennon would love to work in a small firm doing residential and commercial projects. “I would prefer a small firm that I can really connect with and to do work on a small, personal scale,” he said.