Beacon of Happiness

Augmented reality project Beacon of Happiness
National Gallery of Art / Online 

Curators: Jonas Žukausakas, Jurga Daubaraitė

The architecture of the National Gallery of Art (NGA) building, designed by Gediminas Baravykas and Vytautas Vielius and reconstructed by architects Audrius Bučas, Darius Čaplinskas and Gintaras Kuginis, reflects the contradictory and multifaceted stages of Lithuania’s modernization and its meaningful continuity.

In collaboration with Jurga Daubaraitė we have created an augmented reality app that helps to tell the stories of the gallery’s building. When you scan the symbols that you find while walking around the building, you see documents, photographs, flags, palm trees, and pieces of furniture popping up on your phone or tablet screen. In our opinion, architecture is often created in a dissident way, when you contribute to a process that you cannot change or fundamentally affect, but your participation itself can make an impact. The spatial solutions of this building have revealed their references and meanings gradually over time. The same applies to the Museum of the Revolution of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (LSSR), which was designed in 1966 with more than just the Soviet context in mind. Perhaps that is why the public appreciates its architecture, and it was one of the first museum buildings to be renovated after Lithuania regained its independence. In 2013, on a green lawn in front of the restored building, President Dalia Grybauskaitė raised the flag of Lithuania’s presidency in the Council of the European Union. Now, the architecture of the NGA building seems to convey a different message – the massive sandstone volumes of the façade, hovering above the transparent glass of the base level, no longer evoke the fluttering flag of the Soviet revolution. 

Text by Jonas Žukauskas

Link to the app “Beacon of Happiness” in App Store HERE.

QR code with the link to the app “Beacon of Happiness” in Google Play:

The visitors of the National Gallery of Art can download the app on their smart devices, and can see how this building appeared, and also can virtually visit the Museum of the Revolution that the building housed before, to compare the elements of the current and former exhibitions, and to see what changed and what stayed during the building’s reconstruction.  App is working and some of the augmented reality objects can be seen outside the gallery as well. 


The app contents, design, research, 3D models and texts: Jurga Daubaraitė and Jonas Žukauskas

Programming: Gluk Media, Tomas Klebonas and Kristina Mažeikaitė

Coordination: Ieva Mazūraitė-Novickienė

Lithuanian language proofreader: Ilona Klimienė

English language proofreader: Emma Stirling

The stories behind the narrative of this app were researched and presented as an academic thesis written by Jonas Žukauskas, supervised by Dr. Ines Weizman, as part of an architecture course at the Faculty of Architecture at London Metropolitan University in 2012.

Special thanks to everyone who contributed to development of the application, especially Eglė Juocevičiūtė, Irena Mikuličienė, Janina Asminavičienė, Evelina Bukauskaitė, Jurgis Baravykas, Eva Brazdžionytė, Meilė and Eugenijus Peikštenis, and Lolita Jablonskienė.