9/11 Exhibit App Builds Future World Trade Center Out of a Photo [VIDEO]

The majority of the 9/11 remembrance exhibit in the New York Times’ lobby appropriately focuses on the tragedy of 10 years ago, but one digital gallery looks forward rather than back at the site of the World Trade Center.

Three iPads loaded with an augmented reality app sit on a table next to the atrium, in a section set apart from the moving collection of historic Times coverage that makes up the rest of the gallery. The app provides an accurate digital model of the future World Trade Center site and Memorial Pools by pointing the camera at a photo of the World Trade Center construction site. Few people intuitively picked up the iPads to try out the app, but those who did seemed pleasantly surprised by the information.

“This is a wider side of the exhibit,” explains Brandon Melchior, the Times‘ creative director of marketing who designed the gallery. “It’s set aside from the heavier part.”

Graphics editor Graham Roberts worked with an architect to design the digital model, which is based on physical models and architectural plans for the office buildings, arts center, PATH/Subway hub and museum that are planned for the site. The memorial pools, which will be constructed to resemble the footprints of the twin towers, are integrated into the model.

It’s one of the first times the R&D team has worked with Augmented Reality. In the future, similar features could become a part of its storytelling platform. The iPad app might one day, for instance, have the capability to expand a photo on paper or the Times website into a 3D model telling a deeper story.

“9/11 Remembered: A Gallery of Reflection” will be on display through Monday, Sept. 12 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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