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December 11, 2019 - 1 min

A Graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture Receives SOPREMA’s Leaders of Tomorrow Award

Published by SOPREMA

Left to right: Guillermo Cordero, Architectural Representative at SOPREMA (Toronto), and Raphael Kay, HBA, Graduate in Architecture, Year 4, at the University of Toronto.

For SOPREMA, it’s important to encourage young architects. According to Guillermo: “They are the professionals of tomorrow, creating buildings in a way that is unknown to us; they must be encouraged and supported. The students of today are researching new methods and ideas that will shape the buildings of the future. Innovation is key for the success of future construction. But they must find the balance between profit and building responsibly.” The winning student, Raphael Kay, had this to say at the event: “Thanks to SOPREMA for this award. I think we need more instances where building technology leaders can interact with upcoming architects and designers. This relationship will help bridge the gap that can cost us in time, money, energy, and unwanted emissions.” Over a dozen donors, along with students from John H. Daniels’ undergraduate and graduate programs, attended the student awards breakfast. Every year, SOPREMA is proud to value education and to highlight students’ excellence and self-actualization. *The University of Toronto consistently ranks among the world’s best universities and among the top 10 public universities worldwide.

Raphael Kay – HYGROBOT

What does this award represent for you? The validation that scientific exploration and engineering innovation matter in the context of architectural design. 

What is innovation to you? I think of innovation a lot like acceleration. There is this part of it that is like a change in speed in a straight path – innovation can be this linear advancement within a distinct field. But there is also this part of it that is a change in direction – innovation can be taking ideas in their current form and moving them across fields. That is what I am interested in; looking at biological ideas and converting them and applying them in an architectural or applied engineering context. 

How important are eco-responsibility and sustainability in your creations? The implications of the project are movement without active energy – if kinetics could be fueled off of material intelligence rather than carbon combustion, we could seriously make an impact.

Here are some key elements of his project:

  • Locomotion caused simply by biological changes in surrounding humidity. He calls it “biological intelligence”.
  • Changes in shape, density and position of wood elements through manipulation of relative humidity.
  • Enclosure of elements that open and close with variations in humidity.