From the design-fertile land that gave us Rem Koolhaus, Marcel Wanders, droog, and OOOMS, now comes yet another innovation meant to raise our collective design IQ. Fast Company reports that the Netherlands Architecture Institute has just announced that they’re launching something called Sara, the world’s first mobile AR application for viewing 3-D architecture models. (Architecture nerds of the world, rejoice!). Think of it as an archi-nerdy-Google goggles of sorts for design-o-philes.
Users would ultimately be able to point their mobile device at any building in Holland and really, truly SEE the design – from videos to scale models to factoids. Of course, enthusiasts would also be able to add their own thoughts (this is a user-generated world we live in!) and ultimately plot out their own architecture tours. By the end of the year, at least five major cities in the Netherlands will be viewable. The NAI’s goal is to make every single building in the country viewable.
Sara isn’t the first mobile architecture application. Last year 29GPS launched a modern architecture iPhone application that serves as visual guide. Users are treated to an architectural work daily, including photos, audio, and video along with locations, directions, and a GPS function. It’s kind of the perfect application for architectural stalkers.
For travelers to LA, there’s FanGuide’s LA Modern virtual tour guide application. 38 stops and 6 tours, including photos, architect bios, trivia factoids, and of course an online map.
Even mi favorite modern architecture site Mimoa (which organizes and maps amazing architecture for design enthusiasts around the world) is thinking about getting into the online application action with their own iPHone program.
So the question is do all of these self-contained online, mobile experiences really raise our collective design IQ? Are they indeed educational? Do people really use them? Or is it just another form of digital eye candy and something fun to flip through while you’re waiting at the airport?