MLA and BLA students’ “WE[AR]” Winter Stations installation encourages connection and the strength of living in a community using Augmented Reality technology.

Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2023

Congratulations to the “WE[AR]” University of Guelph team of BLA and MLA of Landscape Architecture students in collaboration with a team of tech professionals, who designed the first interactive Augmented Reality art installation for the 2023 Winter Stations International Design Competition. Eight installations were unveiled on February 20th, 2023, and will remain on view at Woodbine Beach until April 2nd, 2023.

Winter Stations is an open, single-stage, international design competition held annually in Toronto, Ontario, where participants are tasked with designing temporary winter art installations incorporating the existing lifeguard towers located in the city’s Kew and Woodbine beaches. “WE[AR]” was among several hundred submissions from artists and designers worldwide. Guelph students participated in an interdisciplinary special study course offered by Assistant Professor Afshin Ashari to design and develop a dynamic way to enhance the user experience in public spaces and bring an entirely new dimension to the way people interact with art installations in the public realm. “WE[AR] was the only representative from the profession of landscape architecture provided an installation opportunity.

"WE[AR]" Interactive Augment Reality Art Installation.  View of  beach installation from tablet Image:  WE[AR] interactive augmented reality art installation at Winter Stations.  Photo Credit: Jonathan Sabeniano.

The theme chosen for the 2023 edition of Winter Stations was Radiance. The team’s concept revolved around interpreting and appreciating social movements. Radiance is not dependent on any one item, person, or location; rather, it is contingent on our capacity to come together to realize both our individual and our community’s full potential. When we work together, we produce more energy and more force, and the resultant domino effect is unstoppable. “WE[AR]” encourages connection, humanism, and the strength of living in a community by demonstrating the power that can be achieved when a community pulls together. “WE[AR]” is an interactive virtual installation that considers the local and regional contexts in which it is shown to present social issues and it exemplifies the power of unity in the face of societal crises. Whether it is in Canada, the United States, Ukraine, Africa, Iran, Afghanistan or anywhere in the world it demonstrates the strength of solidarity in addressing social challenges. Human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ2S+ rights, pay disparity, mental health, racial discrimination, and sexual violence are among the issues addressed. “WE[AR]” stands for a worldwide movement of solidarity and unity, and it begs us all to shine our own light to these critical societal challenges. It encourages visitors to explore the installation at their own pace, striking up conversations with other visitors and, most importantly, becoming allies to these communities. As more individuals congregate and interact with the exhibit, it leads it to respond and strengthen its look. Each member of any community, no matter how large or small, benefits from the presence of solidarity because it fosters a sense of shared purpose and responsibility among its members and encourages them to help one another in times of need. A shining example of justice, solidarity, and humanity may be achieved when we act as one.

WE[AR] can be experienced anywhere by downloading the app from App Store or Google Play.

UofG WE[AR] team at Woodbine BeachImage:  The "WE[AR]" UofG design team.

The “WE[AR]” project team consists of a design team and a tech team. The University of Guelph BLA and MLA students design team: Saina Amin, Craig Klomp, Lauren Mac Isaac, Catherine Yan. Tech Team : Tech Team: Mahmood Afshari (Solution Architect), Kaveh Eshraghian (Tech Lead), Roozbeh Moayyedian (AR Development Lead, Led by SEDRD Assistant Professor, Afshin Ashari.

News Archive