Vincent Hui wakes up every morning ready to do fun stuff. For the architectural science professor, that means using technology to help students take their designs from concept to real-world application.
To that end, he assigns projects that are often tied to competitions or other initiatives. For example, some assignments are designed to add to the Arch-App. The app, conceived and developed with the help of the Ryerson Library and students, provides information about Toronto’s most significant buildings. In all cases, the projects bolster students’ portfolios and in the process their confidence — Hui’s ultimate objective.
Nowhere is this more evident than in another Hui brainchild, the [R]ed[U]x Lab, where architectural design students bring their ideas to reality using digital fabrication and interactive technologies. “Our program is known for ensuring students can design, detail and deliver,” says Hui. “The lab gives students support so they can realize their ideas and build credibility.” The result — student projects from the lab have been featured in Toronto’s annual art festival, Nuit Blanche, at the Royal Ontario Museum and been shown across Canada, in the U.S., Spain and the U.K.
Born and raised in Toronto, Hui realized at a young age that architecture impacts both how people behave and the welfare of society. “I wanted to play a role in shaping that.” He credits his teachers at St. Michael’s Choir School with his decision to become an academic. “They had such a positive impact on me. It motivated me to pay it forward by trying to have a similar impact on my students.”
Hui started his education in architecture when the profession was just beginning its transition from drafting tables and hand- drawn floor plans to computers and software and was immediately captivated. “Today’s students are all about technology and they appreciate that we’ve embraced it.”
Witness his use of augmented reality in the Arch-App, which allows users to hold their smartphones up to buildings and access information about the architecture.
After the success of the architecture app, Hui and a former student, now co-researcher, Matthew Compeau, created Augmented Reality in Development Design (ARIDD). “The software allows students to virtually see their designs built in full scale, on site. It bridges the physical and digital. You can see colours and material properties. They can build what they have in their head.”