September 7, 2016

5 Must-Have Apps for the Architecture Buff on the Go


When technology and architecture come together, you get cool things like this: Geo-based apps that allow you to easily discover surrounding architecture while offering a unique look into the past. Originally published in Architectural Digest, we added these apps to our must-haves for our next trips in the United States and beyond.

For an architecture buff, there is no worse feeling than learning you were on vacation mere minutes away from a historic landmark and never realized it. Lucky for those of us who have experienced this singular sense of FOMO (that’s “fear of missing out” for the non-millennials out there), there are new digital tools that can help guide us to the nearest edifice of interest. From Buildings, a geo-based service that allows users to easily discover and share surrounding architecture, to Pivot, a history-infused guide that offers a unique look into the past of nearby structures, these apps augment urban travel in a richly educational way. We perused the Apple and Android stores in search of the best apps for making the most of your next architectural pilgrimage.

izi.Travel Developed in 2011 by a group of Dutch innovators, izi.Travel was born of a mission to connect travelers to the cultural offerings of the cities they visit. Now covering over 70 nations worldwide, the app features city and museum guides that can be easily downloaded and launched. Free to install with in-app purchases available.

Pivot Lauded by the tech and design worlds when it launched in 2015, Pivot allows users to explore a location through photographic archives and written histories. Born out of the Harvard Innovation Lab with a mission to share and celebrate stories at risk of being lost to time, the app is currently live in Boston and Palestine with plans to expand its reach. Free to install.

Buildings The Buildings app helps users discover, learn, and share information about their surrounding built environments. Available in ten languages in a host of countries around the world, Buildings is centered on a dynamic user-generated database rich with geo-served information on historic, contemporary, and conceptual designs. Free to install.

Discover NYC Landmarks Earlier this summer, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission offered the Big Apple’s take on mobile guides with Discover NYC Landmarks, an interactive map of all the commission’s designated buildings and structures. The mobile-friendly site showcases interior, individual, scenic, and historic landmarks. Free to use with an internet connection.

Pevsner’s Architectural Glossary Not necessarily meant for finding new buildings, Pevsner’s Architectural Glossary is more about enriching the experience once a discovery is made. A digital version of the Yale University Press–published anthology, the app offers an A-to-Z breakdown of architectural verbiage, from arcade to buttress to Corinthian and beyond.