AFC architecture tours app launches along with streetcar opening


The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati released an app today that allows users to take their own self-guided tours of some of the city’s most architecturally significant buildings. ArchiTour Cincinnati gives users behind-the-scenes details of photos of buildings and places, as well as create dialogue between users.
 
“AFC exists to promote architecture in the community,” says Stephen Sendelbeck, executive director of AFC. “We’ve offered walking tours for years, but they’ve been a challenge to coordinate. We wanted to find a technology-based solution that would allow people to download our tours through an app, and take them on their own time.”
 
ArchiTour launched in tandem with the streetcar opening. AFC is advertising the app on the streetcar, and hopes that people who are riding it for the first time will download ArchiTour and take the time to take a tour.
 
The app currently features three self-guided tours: the Streetcar Route, which highlights significant architectural spaces and places along the path of the new Cincinnati Bell Connector; the Fourth/Fifth Street Corridor, which contains some of the most historically relevant architecture in downtown; and the Must See Buildings tour, which is a roundup of 20 must-see buildings in the downtown area.
 
“Everyone who comes to Cincinnati loves the city — it’s like an unknown treasure,” Sendelbeck says. “A lot of that has to do with the city itself, and its roots in arts and culture. But also in the buildings that surround us and the places that exist here. people come to love them.”
 
AFC’s ultimate goal through the app is for people to become advocates for good design and architecture.
 
Each building or place featured on ArchiTour solicits comments and video from users. If someone brings us an interesting fact not included in the background information provided, AFC plans to research that fact and expand the app to include that information.
 
If users have a passion for a specific building or place, they can create short videos and post them to the app. Future users can then access those videos and hear from a local or visitor who really connected with a specific site in Cincinnati.
 
For example, one of Sendelbeck’s favorite buildings in Cincinnati is the Gwynne building, which is a former P&G building. While doing research for the app, he met someone who shared that the grills on the upper floors of the building alternately bear the initials “G” and “V,” which stand for Gwynne and Vanderbilt. The building was originally constructed by the Vanderbilt family to pay tribute to Vanderbilt’s wife’s family, the Gwynnes.
 
“I never would have learned about that connection otherwise,” Sendelbeck says. “People are going to be intrigued when they discover things about buildings that they didn’t know.”  
 
There is room for growth too, with future plans for riverfront, northern downtown, University of Cincinnati and sites that have been used in movies tours. AFC plans to rollout a new tour every 2-3 months into 2017. Long-term goals for ArchiTour include a downtown residential tour, a community centers tour and an expansion into Northern Kentucky tour.
 
You can download ArchiTour Cincinnati for free in the App Store or Google Play Store today.
 

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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