V. Hui1, M. Compeau2, K. Pu1, T. Arabian1

1Ryerson University (CANADA)
2Emergent Forms (CANADA)
The widespread adoption of computer aided design and modeling (CAD/CAM) in a range of industries has precipitated a demand that students leaving academia at the very least must have such technical acumen. Better yet, they should be able to transcend simple technical execution and enter industry with comfort in applying such skills to real world contexts. Despite the ubiquity of digital design software for disciplines ranging from architecture to engineering, there remains a great need for students to rapidly connect, visualise, and assess their design ideas in real world conditions. At the same time, one of the greatest obstacles to design efficiencies in professional practice and experiential learning in design pedagogy is the visualization workflow. Despite the array of software (such as parametric modeling and performance simulators) and technology (including 3D printing and rendering) there needs to be more accessible and immediate method of bringing real world contexts into early stages of design thereby providing greater insights from real world experience in developing stronger, robust designs.

With such a rationale, the Augmented Reality In Design Development (ARIDD) Project has the potential to bridge the disconnect between design ideation and application in real world and real time. The display of digital information overtop real world conditions, though innovative in and of itself, is only the foundation of the ARIDD project. In its simplest form, such models of augmented reality have been part of our entertainment industry (i.e. sporting events where time, scores, and statistics are shown simultaneously over the actual game), however the ARIDD project allows users to visualise everything from buildings to mechanical components that previously only existed in the ether of computers into a real world context. That the ARIDD project potentially allows students to not only visualise their designs in context observe its suitability, but to also make design changes in the augmented reality environment effectively enhances the pedagogy. The experiential learning potential of this technology in design education is incredible as it facilitates many of the dimensions of experiential learning outlined by Jane Henry including its problem-solving, project-based, and personal methods in a non-traditional platform.

This paper describes the design, implementation, and evaluation of the ARIDD project in Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science within the context of an undergraduate design studio course. The ARIDD project serves to support students not only by applying and visualizing ideas onto the real world, but also providing those who are visual learners yet another way to understand material from the classroom. That the student population of design programs draws upon visual learners while the delivery of content in many courses remains consistent with conventional models is a failure in addressing the needs of a diverse student body. If developed properly, the ARIDD project has a great deal of potential to not only go beyond its prototype application in Architectural Science and into other disciplines, but also in its incredible long-term impact on design pedagogy in general.