Augmented reality blurs the lines between what is real and what is computer generated by enhancing what you see, hear, feel and smell. Forbes recently reported that over $2 billion has been invested in AR within the last 12 months, and if you think this has nothing to do with architecture, think again.
These costly developments are focusing on creating apps and content for the devices we use including phones and tablets. For example, IKEA announced they are collaborating with Apple to create an app that allows customers to envision having IKEA furniture in their own apartment. The connection between AR and IKEA might even produce a faster transaction than the internet itself. The proposed app is expected to launch later this fall. I guess it’s time to say goodbye to those day-long IKEA trips and getting lost in model kitchens.
So, why exactly would this create a problem for architecture?
With several apps developing similar concepts to IKEA’s it’s possible that the need for extravagant art pieces or well-designed buildings could cease to exist when a single app can create your own version of the city. Just imagine walking down the street, taking out your phone and envisioning a style more suited to your liking. The sky becomes the limit. It’s like you have stepped into a video game where you’re making all the decisions for yourself.
AR opens numerous questions and concerns for the future especially for architecture. However, as architects and true advocates of revitalization we are not worried that AR will diminish the need for creating buildings and structures because although those buildings ‘look great’ they don’t represent what architecture is about. Architecture and the work we produce are about creating unique spaces that build strong relationships between our cities and our communities. As architects and designers that is what we are focused on and that is what is going to prevent AR from taking over our screens.