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Build Up!
Celebrating cityscapes with an interactive installation at Washington D.C.'s National Building Museum
by Graham Hiemstra
on 23 May 2011
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Last week design firm Rockwell Group's interactive team, The Lab, completed their latest project aptly-named Build Up!. The one-night-only install came in the form of a four-sided hanging screen, designed and built for the 25th Anniversary National Building Museum Honor Award Gala in Washington D.C. Using iPad software and projection apps customized with openFramework for the project, the 18' x 18' geometric structure displayed animated colorful cityscapes high above the guests at the event.

But the installation was more than just a digitally-enhanced chandelier. Guests were encouraged to interact with the skyline (and one another) by using one of four iPad 2-embedded pedestals to create miniature buildings, forming a virtual metropolis of epic proportions. As guests tap and play using the specialized iPad apps, skyscrapers sprout up in bright hues, creating nearly instant interactive gratification. With the proper amount of feverous construction, the cities really come to life as virtual balloons, blimps, and fireworks erupt to celebrate users' architectural accomplishments.

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The project, as an extended arm of Rockwell's cross-disciplinarily program, falls in line with The Lab's aim to "blur the lines between the physical and virtual in all of Rockwell Group's projects." Now you know who to call the next time you want to build a city indoors.

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