Augmenting Reality

Virtual environments allow for explorations of inaccessible or not-yet-materialized designs. They can be precursors of future physical urban spaces and potent drives in their realization. This is the case with AR environments developed for the Tremont Underground Theater Space (TUTS) initiative. This initiative is using AR gaming media not only to popularize ideas of the adaptive reuse of the abandoned public infrastructure but also to build social constituency and connect with the general public.

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For in-depth discussion on these projects, see Augmenting Design Curriculum with Location-Aware Technologies, a paper published/presented at the Eurographics 2015 Conference. It can be accessed via Eurographics and/or the ResearchGate portal. For additional information on this app, follow the link to the Mystery Spaces website and the Layar app repository..

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Mystery Spaces
Mystery Spaces is an augmented-reality mobile app that brings urban places to life. Become an urban explorer and discover the mystery of abandoned public infrastructure, secret tunnels, bridges, architectural landmarks and rooftops. Navigate through the unknown, forgotten, and underappreciated public spaces. Document their daily lives and share them with the rest of the world. Discover what architecture guides can’t tell you!

Mobile AR app Mystery Spaces enables new forms of urban explorations (Andrzej Zarzycki)


Gameplay tree: overlay of POis over downtown Boston.

Discover interconnected mystery points through hidden clues. Using your smart phone or tablet, spot the portal and use the key to unlock the keyhole using clues. Follow multiple routes and visit a couple mystery points, or enter this augmented reality environment at multiple portals scattered around the city. You don’t even have to look for portals–just tune into the Mystery Spaces app or layer and it will announce when one is near.

The gameplay allows for alternative scenarios and routes.

Alternative Scenarios
Multiple routes link the origination point (Portal) and the destination Mystery Point. Experience Mystery Spaces in many ways, each time learning something new about the city.


Application/Navigation Tree


Public Engagement
Connecting public events with app launching.

Common Boston: Urban Festival organized by Boston Society of Architects (BSA)

Technical Notes
A class/workshop tutorial showing how to set up an AR environment with Unity3D and Vuforia can be accessed with this link