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Bond architecture students build winning app

January 11, 2021

Ellin Minogue, Kayla Soler and Donna Simon with the AR-chitecture app and an image marker. PICTURE: Cavan Flynn  

They’ve finished their studies, now three budding architects are using technology to make learning easier for the next generation of students, while also helping architecture firms and their clients.

Donna Simon, Ellin Minogue and Kayla Soler have each just completed their Bachelor of Architectural Studies at Bond University, topping it off by winning the university’s Transformer Launch Pad entrepreneurship competition with their technology solution AR-chitecture.

AR-chitecture is an app which allows users to scan unique “image markers”, which link to architecture models.

“With the app you can scan the image marker and the model we’ve set with the image marker comes up on screen and allows you to have a 360-degree view of it, and you also have clickable scenes which give you a view of the spatial qualities and an architectural rendering of the scene,” Ms Simon said.

The app is currently only available for Android but is expected to include iOS in the future.

Ms Soler said the idea for AR-chitecture formed after the COVID-19 lockdown last year.

“One of the main things for us as students was showing things through models, and with the move towards technological means of presentations and showcasing designs through the screen, it became really hard to get an understanding of the space. I think with this application, you get a better understanding of what the space is and the spatial qualities that you sometimes can’t get through 2D drawings,” she said. 

“We came up with a solution directly based on something we went through as a collective, so it has that personal aspect, and once we developed the app we found it fulfilled that need that was missing. It was really cool to see it transition from us going through the problem, to finding the solution, and finding people that believed in our solution,” Ms Minogue said.    

While the origins of AR-chitecture mean the app has been designed to help students and lecturers, the trio is confident it will also have broader appeal.

“It allows lecturers, architects or architectural clients to get an idea of the project, and the spatial qualities as well.

“We would love to take it to architecture firms and come up with ideas on how they can use it to showcase their clients’ ideas, because I think reading plans and the way you show designs is hard to understand for someone who doesn’t come from an architectural background, so having something physical and 3D that they can experience really will help,” Ms Simon said.

In the long-term, they are also hopeful AR-chitecture could be used by engineers, or as a way for people to virtually “visit” landmark buildings across the world.

For now, the group is working on updating the AR-chitecture technology, grateful for the support from their university and excited for the future.

“We never approached this app with the idea to win Transformer Launch Pad, we did it because it was something we felt was really important and we were passionate about. It was really exciting for us to see that other people saw what we saw in our app,” Ms Minogue said.