Creating A Digital Memory Map of Century Avenue Campus

Dec 15 2022

After the move to the Qiantan campus, where will you miss the most about the Century Avenue academic building? Is it the Library, the computer labs, the cafeteria, or the dance studio? The IllumiLand virtual campus project uses 3D model reconstruction and creates a virtual space for community members to leave their memories of campus. This project is produced by the Library RITS team, IMA faculty, and students to celebrate NYU Shanghai’s 10th Anniversary.

“When graduates remember their college experience, [physical] spaces will always be part of it,” Library Director Zu Xiaojing said, but their photos usually remain on their phones. “IllumiLand preserves the history of NYU Shanghai and enables students to ‘re-enter’ and walk through the campus virtually even though we are no longer here.”

It took almost a year for the Library RITS team and professional service providers to plan for and scan the academic building space. NYU Shanghai alumni and former Emerging Technology Associate Gabriela Baltontin ’18 put in a lot of effort during the initial phase and even built a website for the models before she headed off for graduate school.  



Students experience the IllumiLand virtual campus project in the cafeteria

Clinical Instructor of IMA Zhang Xingchen, Senior Manager and Solutions Architect Li Xu, and students created “Verse: NO.1555,” an interactive mixed-reality platform for visitors to access the virtual campus. One of the student participants, Zhang Li ’23, said the project was a creative way to use her knowledge of VR/AR development and game design to create a participatory space.

The platform includes a web page-based app and a phone-based app. “By using these apps, users can leave text messages and insert photos. When you ‘walk’ into different spaces, you can create your memories and review others’ stories,” Professor Zhang explained.

Participant Guo Yuanhe ’25 said he enjoyed experiencing an innovative way of using XR technology. “It works perfectly as a bridge between the virtual and the real world,” he said.

“The goals of the project are both preservation and showcasing.” Zu Xiaojing said. “The 3D models allow prospective students, parents, and the public to experience the university.” In the future, she said, the IllumiLand virtual campus project will also include virtual presentations of ECNU’s Geography Building and the new Qiantan campus, to fully showcase NYU Shanghai’s physical footprint.

Special thanks to “Verse: NO.1555” designers and developers: Clinical Instructor of IMA Zhang Xingchen, Senior Manager and Solutions Architect Li Xu, Clinical Assistant Professor of Arts Liu Chang, former Emerging Technology Associate Gabriela Baltontin ’18, Zheng Yuhang ’23, Lin Dianyu ’24, Zhang Li ’23, Anthony Oury ’24, Chen Sinuo ’24, Guo Yuanhe ’25, Peng Shengyang ’24, and Chao Lecheng ’23.