Take A 'Jaunt' Around Pittsburgh With New Architecture App

Jul 12, 2016

Pittsburgh architecture, modern and contemporary, is highlighted as part of a new app called Jaunt. The program derives from a partnership between Boston-based architecture firm Over. Under and Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture and is designed to educate users about a little over 100 buildings located in Pittsburgh.

Rami el Samahy, principal at Over. Under, and Martin Aurand, architecture librarian and archivist at Carnegie Mellon University played a large role in researching and developing this app.

“It was an ongoing, evolving labor of love,” said Samahy. He added that it took nearly five years for the app’s creation.

Martin spent a great deal of time previously researching the modern and contemporary architectural structures in Pittsburgh for an exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art called Imagining the Modern.

“The literature for modern buildings is weaker, so to speak,” said Martin. “Historic buildings are extremely well-documented.”

Once Martin uncovered the information, it made sense to lend it to the app, which features images, text and a list of further reading options for each building. It’s a curated list, so not every building in Pittsburgh is listed. Instead, the focus lies on buildings with more mystery.

In addition to classic, older buildings, Martin and Samahy wanted to concentrate on buildings with histories that were harder to trace and more elusive. The app also features buildings that have since been torn down as well as buildings that were drawn up, designed, but never built. It includes several Frank Lloyd Wright buildings that never came to fruition in Pittsburgh.

Samahy thinks that the app will encourage people to explore since they can have the information on the phone they take with them all the time.

On the docket next are cities like Boston and New Haven, as well as Doha, Qatar where there is a CMU branch campus.

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