RAMALYTIQUE: A Tablet to See the Lost in Translation

Certain artistic objects such as architecture are difficult to present in museums.
A building obviously is too big to fit in an exhibition room. And more importantly, removing architecture from its location to display in a museum would lose a good part of its artistic essence since architectural design is strongly tied with its specific site and surrounding context. Alternatively, use of traditional scale models, photographs, videos and drawings is a way of translating the original into useful representations commonly deployed by architects. But these methods fragment the building into isolated forms of different media, and ordinary audience is often left clueless about the original architecture. For instance, it is difficult to relate a sectional drawing with a scale model of the building, or to locate the viewing position of a photograph on the floor plan.

What are almost lost in this translation and cause difficulties are the spatial relationships amongst the architecture and various forms of its representations. This project is an effort to regain those "lost in translation", or the relationships between architecture, site context, plan and section drawings, scale models, and digital 3D models. We designed Ramalytique (previously named MULTIRAMA), a system that uses marker-based augmented reality technology to synchronize the viewing angles of all those media. A viewer looks at a scale model through the camera of a tablet computer and can interactively turn on and off various representations overlaid on the live video feed of the model.
On a table, the proposed installation displays 3D-printed partial models of elegant country-side villa projects designed and built by Palladio, one of the most famous Renaissance architects in history. Its augmented representation incorporates photogrammetric models sampled through field trips on the building sites as well as drawings left in Palladio's classic canon, The Four Books of Architecture.

    Takehiko Nagakura (MIT)

Development and installation:
    Takehiko Nagakura (MIT)
    Woongki Sung (MIT)

as part of a collaborative research with
    Dr. Daniel Tsai (MIT)
    Prof. Howard Burns (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)

    February-June 2013 (original development with ARToolkit)
    February-September 2014 (revision with Vufolia)
    January 2015 (exhibit for MIT WOLK Gallery exhibition)
    November 2015 (exhibit at Ba-Tsu Gallary in Tokyo for Autodesk Tokyo Popup)