Takehiko NAGAKURA | Wenzhe PENG | Yuxuan LEI | Xiaoyun ZHANG | Nikolaos VLAVIANOS
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA)

Keywords: AR, Multi-media, Web-based application, Alvar Aalto, Baker House

Baker House AR (2021) is a web-based AR application built for museum visitors to an architectural exhibition. Its multi-media contents, such as 3D models and video recordings, break and expand the boundary of the traditional drawings and photos, physically exhibited on the walls and tables of the exhibition space. While moving around this exhibit and interacting with the application, visitors are presented with information about an important cultural heritage location, which is organized and curated as an integration of the physical artifacts and the virtual contents switchable through simple UI’s.
Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) is a Finnish architect considered one of the most important Modernist pioneers. In the spring and summer of 2021, a large exhibition of works by Aalto and his wife, Aino, was organized for the museums in Tokyo and Kobe, Japan. This application was developed as part of the presentation of Baker House, a dormitory Aalto designed on the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949, through collaboration with MIT, Aalto Foundation in Helsinki, and Gallery A4 in Tokyo.
The application includes the following design features.

– Its distribution through a web-browser using Three.js and AR.js library eliminates the need to download a native application.
– Its multi-media contents, including 3D scans, CAD models, video recordings, and scanned 2D archives, are driven by online databases. Different compositions of these virtual contents can be prepared as means to curate the contents, and users can switch between them through simple UI’s.
– In AR mode, the multi-media contents are spatially referenced from the drawings exhibited on the museum floor. Touching the smartphone screen allows the user to suspend the AR mode and to magnify, rotate and move the virtual camera freely.