2013 Projects
Architectural Preservation Application
Nicole Oliveri

The issue that my project seeks to address is architectural preservation. Everyday buildings are being torn down and new ones are being built so that developers can make money but we are losing or architectural heritage. Buildings are not just buildings, they are a lasting physical imprint of the lives of everyday people who have long been forgotten. They hold memories of their past inhabitants and they are the materialization of the labor of architects and builders.

My solution to this problem is an augmented reality application for a mobile device that allows the user to view the street they are standing on as it looked in the past by using historic photo archives and geotagging. I know that this solution will work because it was inspired by a personal experience. A neighbor once showed me a picture taken in the 1940s of the street I lived on. I couldn’t believe how much more beautiful my neighborhood had been. I had never cared about architectural preservation before then but it has extremely important to me since. After that experience I started paying attention the small details of old buildings and thought about how the architect must have put a great deal of care into each one. I believe that my solution will work because it is only the knowledge of what we have lost that can keep us from destroying what we have; awareness brings change.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Nicole – Love this idea! I have often been fascinated with historic pictures of places I know today. I love your specific focus on the architectural details that you get to appreciate more having seen those photos. I’d totally use this app. In the spirit of this competition – other than just being cool, what do you see as the social benefit of the app?

    • Nicole Oliveri

      you! I believe that the social benefit of this app is that it creates awareness
      of the architectural history of a place and inspires it’s user to become an
      active participant in the preservation of historic architecture that is still
      extant but in danger of being torn down. Older buildings are often the most unique
      and have a physical history. Knowing this history makes their residents feel an
      attachment to them. This in turn promotes a sense of pride in the place where
      they live and a stronger community. There are also environmental benefits to
      preserving older buildings because tearing them down and constructing new
      buildings can create waste and use a great deal of energy.
      I hope this answers your question!

      • Ashley

        While new constructions accounts only for 25% of energy resources, building maintenance on the other hand requires 70% of the energy. Hence there is an acute imbalance over the idea of preservation and new construction. Further more, in a city like New York, how can we address the issues of more living space per square foot of area if we continue to have low rise buildings of the past.

  • MermaidD

    A great way to get more people interested in the architectural preservation movement.

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