I’m more the functional type of girl (a phone is a phone). So no smart phone for me. But a while ago, Petra was talking about a bird app on her blog:
“Verder dacht ik altijd dat je vogels lokt met lekker voer en dat, als je mazzel hebt, je een mooi exemplaar op de kiek kunt leggen. Nee helemaal fout. Dat is echt van voor de mobilisatie 1820 denk werk. Natuurlijk niet Petra. Dat gaat zo echt niet meer. Je neemt je iPhone, zet daar van elk merk vogels het gezang op en de vogels zullen tot je komen! Echt!!! De vogels worden met geluiden van andere iPhone vogels gelokt.”
And I was thinking “Wow, I would like to try that one too!”, because I really like watching birds foraging and hopping around (in my garden). It would be so neat if I could lure my favourite ones into my back yard… (I try this with food now, but it doesn’t always seem to be so efficient).
But hey, so much money, and that only to see some birds? So no iPhone for me. I will stick to my $30 phone.
But then this morning, I was reading the newspaper:
“On a sunny day, light streams into the Allen Lambert Galleria at Toronto’s Brookfield Place, drenching the hustle-and-bustle of the financial district below.
Take a moment inside the atrium to glance upward and you’ll see an arched, treelike canopy of criss-crossing steel and glass. Some may know the atrium, one of Toronto’s seminal architectural masterpieces, was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.”
Brookfield Place really is something special. It’s a gem, hidden away, hard to discover if you are a tourist and you did not read about it somewhere. Even hard to notice if you are just one of these passer byers.
I love Brookfield Place!
This is what you see on the outside:
And Toronto has a lot of these buildings!
Luckily, Vincent Hui, an Architecture Professor from Ryerson University, together with 60 volunteer students, has developed a mobile app, free for most smartphones, to help understand and engage with Toronto’s architecture, past and present!
The app uses geolocation data to plot out architectural landmarks in Toronto’s downtown core. It offers detailed information about more than 90 buildings around the city — including information about buildings’ form and function, the architects involved, design sketches and photos from past and present.
It operates on “augmented reality” technology, using the phone’s camera to display the real-world environment as the user walks around the city, but adds detailed information about the scene in view.
Just launch the app, lift your phone in front of you and let it do the work.
When launched, a series of small photos of buildings included in the app float on the screen. Those photos — of St. Michael’s Cathedral or Brookfield Place, for example — can be tapped to retrieve detailed architectural information of the building’s history and significance or directions to the location.
The app is still in its infancy, but it’s a work in progress! And colleagues in Seattle and Las Vegas have shown their interest too.
So maybe, one day, I will buy myself a smart phone. 😉