Ryerson student-entrepreneur bringing architectural ideas to life

In honour of Global Entrepreneur week, The Ryersonian spoke with up-and-coming student entrepreneur Kevin Pu about his involvement in two architectural design programs – the Arch-App and the Augmented Reality in Development and Design (ARIDD) software.

Despite being only in his first-year of the master of architecture program at Ryerson, 22-year-old Kevin Pu has already established a prominent presence in the Canadian architecture industry.

Pu was given the opportunity to work as a research assistant in two Ryerson-based architectural design programs that have garnered the attention of the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail.

The most recent project Pu contributed to is the Augmented Reality in Development Design (ARIDD), a software originally designed for teaching purposes.

It creates live interactive building models in real time and space at almost any site location. The software can be used on a computer or iPad and requires a camera and a specialized QR code to operate.

With those materials, users can create and simulate a live structural design in the real-world environment using computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. The software then takes the pre-designed building the user has created using structural design software and loads it on to an augmented reality marker, which is then projected as a 3D image.

Pu’s first architectural design project, the Arch-App, originally launched in 2011. Available for iPhones, iPads and Androids, the app uses GPS co-ordinates for an interactive Toronto architectural information experience suitable for anyone from architectural design fans to history buffs.

Head designer and Ryerson professor Vincent Hui led both software programs. He calls Pu his right-hand man.

“None of the projects could have been done without his help,” Hui said.

Pu said working these projects enabled him to build a networking portfolio and gain skills in architecture that are not taught in class.

“[It’s helped me] practise how to convey ideas and thoughts with different clients in a simple matter,” said Pu. “[The projects] have helped me build up my interpersonal skills.”

Pu said both programs will change the public’s opinion and appreciation for architectural design.

“Through this [Arch App], you’re able to showcase what architecture is about,” said Pu. “You’re…able to convey different layers of information as well as get people more informed about different types of architecture within the city that they may not know about.”

As for the ARIDD, Pu said the software makes creating architectural concepts easier for structural designers.

“It removes the mundane process of creating physical models. Students are able to use this software … and project it on a real one-to-one scale,” said Pu.

Pu’s upcoming projects include building on the ARIDD software to allow users to project furnishings into real space, and further developing the Arch-App database and expand the app to other large cities around the world.

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