Visitors to The Design Museum in London will be able to experience a new exhibit with the exterior of the building transformed in AR, bringing to life the realities of extreme weather due to climate change. In turn, the building materials themselves transform, to highlight ways in which we can adapt to combat these challenges.

This inaugural Landmarker project, in partnership with social media app Snap, sees architect Mariam Issoufou Kamara reimagine the Design Museum building to mark its fifth birthday in its current home. The project ties into the Design Museum’s mission to make the impact of design visible and demonstrate its role in addressing contemporary issues.

Visitors to the museum will be prompted to ‘Open their Snapchat’, at which point Snap’s AR technology will transform the building in front of their eyes – at least, on their phones – bringing the sometimes distant effects of climate change close to home by demonstrating the likely real-world results.

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Kamara – an architect from Niger, who studied architecture at the University of Washington – founded her architecture and research practice, atelier masōmī, in 2014. Her belief is that architects have an important role to play in creating spaces that have the power to elevate, dignify and provide people with a better quality of life.

For the Snap AR project, Kamara chose to explore how architecture can adapt to extreme weather conditions, not only highlighting the ongoing effects of climate change but also demonstrating a tangible way that buildings can be adapted and repurposed to face contemporary problems.

Kamara said: “For an architect whose practice is in a desert country like Niger, the effects of the climate crisis are already all around us through increased droughts, floods and even climate refugees. This collaboration with the Design Museum and Snap really allowed me to explore a future where the climate has changed drastically, a new normal if you will. I wanted to use the facade of the Design Museum to explore how the built environment might respond to harsh conditions and how we could perhaps put buildings to use in order to serve new needs under extreme conditions.”

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Justin McGuirk, chief curator at The Design Museum, said: “The imaginative re-use of existing structures needs to be at the heart of a climate-conscious architecture. Since augmented reality is such an engaging way of reimagining buildings, we are delighted to be partnering with Snap and Mariam Kamara to explore how our own home might be adapted in the future. What better way to celebrate the Design Museum’s birthday, and the revival of a much-loved building, than to keep visualising alternative futures for it.”

Will Scougal, international head of creative strategy at Snap, added: “Sometimes, seeing is believing. This is another example of how Snap can use its augmented-reality platform to tell really important stories. Climate change is the defining issue of our generation and this Lens brings what can feel like something distant closer to home, making it harder to ignore.”

Kamara’s redesign can be seen by either clicking the icon in the Snap Map or by scanning the Snapcode.

The Design Museum is one of the world’s leading museums devoted to contemporary architecture and design. Since it opened its doors in 1989, the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 assault rifle to Christian Louboutin high-heeled shoes. In November 2016, The Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London.