Takehiko NAGAKURA / Woong-ki SUNG
(Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA)

Keywords: Augmented Reality, Architecture, Exhibition, Spatial Representation, Design Media

This paper introduces an application of Augmented Reality (AR) technology for presenting large and complex spatial designs, and discusses its benefit for museum exhibits especially with physical models.
We assembled a low-cost prototype that uses common handheld devices and widely-used marker-based sensing method.
Architecture and urban forms are difficult to present in museums. A building usually is too big to fit in an exhibition room, and removing architecture from its site to display in a museum would lose some essence since its design is strongly tied with surrounding context. Alternatively, use of traditional scale models, photographs, and drawings is a way of translating the original into useful representations commonly deployed by professional architects. But these methods fragment the building into isolated forms of different media and projections, and ordinary audience is often left clueless about the original architecture. For instance, tests show it is difficult to relate a section with a scale model of a building, or to locate the viewing position of a photograph on the floor plan.
What are almost lost in this translation and cause difficulties are the spatial relationships amongst architecture and various forms of its representations. To resolve this situation, we built Multirama, an AR-based prototype, and loaded it with digital media contents about a Renaissance villa designed by Andrea Palladio. On a table, the installation exhibits its 3D-printed partial model, and audience use tablet computers for viewing it with selectively superimposed augmentation, which includes a photogrammetric model sampled through a fieldwork on the building site, geometric models illustrating the foundation and roof tectonics, as well as plan, section and elevation drawings depicted in Palladio’s canon, The Four Books of Architecture.
This system capable of simple synchronization of views demonstrates an effective, intuitive means to help audience minds integrate diverse forms of spatial representations.