Those crazy Dutch designers. The Netherlands Architecture institute has announced that they're launching Sara, the world's first mobile AR application for viewing 3-D architecture models. The app will be available in the Android Market and the Apple App Store next month.
Using the Layar platform (itself a Dutch invention), the idea is to create a mobile guide to buildings throughout the country—from videos to scale models and interesting factoids. Users can then add their own tidbits and plot out their own walking architecture tours.
NAI's stated goal is, apparently, to make every single building in the country viewable. Upon the launch of the app, all of Rotterdam will be viewable and by October, four more cities will be added. (Give these guys an "A" for just ambition.) The first building with full-on AR models will be MVRDV's Market Hall, which just recently broke ground.
So what's the point? NAI claims that within five years, the app will serve as a national architecture guide. Which you've gotta admit would be pretty great from an education standpoint, since apps like these could potentially raise the design IQ of a nation. The only difficulty of course would be getting people interested enough to start using it.