Faculty Spotlight: Assistant Professor Frank Hu

Auburn Landscape Architecture

Assistant Professor Frank Hu of Auburn’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (APLA) would definitely call himself a fan of technology. “Using new technology is like playing with new toys,” he explained. “You feel like a kid again experimenting with the latest tools, and it makes our work continuously refreshing.” Frank joined the APLA faculty in 2021 and was promoted to Assistant Professor this past fall.

Frank earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and a Master in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University. He began his career working for Lamar Johnson Collaborative in St. Louis where he focused on large scale urban design research and GIS analysis work, specializing in the integration of geospatial data with design using GIS, animation, virtual reality and drones. His projects mainly focused on greenways and plazas in the St. Louis region. “My experiences there have absolutely helped shape my teaching, and I hope to help prepare students for professional practice after graduating,” he stated.

Frank’s research focuses on the use of technology in landscape design, including Multispectral Imagery, Parametric Design, Remote Sensing, Visualization, GIS and LIDAR.  He and colleague Emily Knox are the recipients of a College of Architecture, Design and Construction (CADC) Seed Grant to study vegetation through the use of Multispectral Imagery. Another project he’s currently working on is the development of an exhibit featuring a 3D printed city model of Montgomery, Alabama. “This model uses remotely sensed LIDAR data as a basis for fabricating topographic city models, which can be made physical through 3D printing,” he explained. He is also part of a team that was recently awarded an Auburn AUX Grant to explore the possibility of installing Virtual Reality workstations within APLA’s Dudley Hall.

Frank teaches primarily in the Master of Landscape Architecture program, including classes on graphic studies, landscape construction, fieldwork and landscape architecture studio, but he’s looking forward to teaching undergraduates this fall in APLA’s new Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program. He says his favorite class to teach is studio because of the creativity and the opportunity to explore projects in depth, but he also enjoys teaching his students about the latest tech gadgets. “I definitely try to share as much of this knowledge as I can with my students,” he said. “They seem to really enjoy learning skills they haven’t used before! I also enjoy teaching my students about mapping and GIS, because it’s always great to show how useful and powerful these tools can be in service of their design work.”

Related people:
Frank Hu, Emily Knox