Refugi 307 – Design of a Virtual Heritage Experience

Refugi 307 – Design of a Virtual Heritage Experience
We are currently designing a Virtual Heritage experience for a Spanish bomb shelter, namely Refugi 307. The prototype is based on the World-as-Support interaction paradigm aimed to complement learning contents of the guided visit.


The project Refugi 307 was carried out between 2016 and 2018 in collaboration with the Barcelona History Museum (MUHBA). The main goal of the project was to complement educational contents of the guided visit of the Spanish bomb shelter Refugi 307 through a Virtual Heritage experience.

The project forms part of the research project Evaluation-Driven Design funded by Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Grant: TIN2014-60599-P).




Designing interactive experiences for cultural heritage sites is particularly challenging. Archaeological sites acquire their importance and meaning through situatedness; i. e. meaning about historical contexts is provided by the fact that the visitor is actually physically present on site. However, these spaces often cannot be modified by adding physical objects or installations. Thus, learning experiences are often complemented by guided visits to direct visitors’ attention towards aspects that are not obvious without further explanations. Nevertheless, visitors still need to imagine missing artifacts, people living at that period and related events. Due to limited expertise, it may be particularly difficult for visitors to imagine certain contents.

Research Goals

Starting from these challenges,  we explored in this project differente strategies to enhance the visitor experience within the physical space of the shelter and to complement educational contents of the guided visit. We specifically focused on the potentials of an emerging projective Augmented Reality interaction paradigm, the World-as-Support (WaS), to support the following user awareness categories.

  • Environment awareness AR activities: Awareness of the environment may be fostered through projections on surfaces and objects to represent missing content at their original locations; e.g. the signs describing shelter behavior rules can be projected on areas of the walls that are now empty

  • Context awareness AR activities: Users can be made aware of historical events of the local context by projecting situated audiovisual content; e.g. project a testimonial of a woman who volunteered as a nurse in the space that was dedicated to the infirmary of the shelter.


  • Social awareness AR activities: The system can split content between multiple users, each having a World-as-Support system, and foster movement-based collaborative activities; e.g. two users project each a different half of an object that needs to be recomposed through their collaboration. 












Our findings showed that the World-as-Support interaction paradigm is particularly appropriate for on-site cultural heritage applications for archaeological sites. On the one hand, using the World-as-Support interaction paradigm allows us enriching the visit at appropriate times and places without being intrusive or altering the physical space. On the other hand, using projective AR and collaborative learning activities allows visitors to explore the physical environment in meaningful ways and to construct meaning by discovering new layers of the learning experience. 

Finally, the results of this project contributed also to the development of the FUBImethod aimed at helping interaction designers in Full-Body Interaction to guide intergenerational teams (children, designers, topic experts, etc.) and their design sessions with a number of techniques to foster body awareness and making the body be the focus and protagonist during the design (specifically stages (1) Defining a common ground, (4) Defining context and goal appropriateness).

In this project, we also explored the potenial of several embodied-co design techniques, such as the Pictionary Technique and Dwelling Space Technique. The aim was to define new strategies to elicit children's contributions during the design process that incorporate their perspective on the child experience.

Related Publications

Schaper, M. M. (2019). Co-design strategies with children in Full-Body Interaction for situated non-formal learning experiences. (Doctoral dissertation, Universitat Pompeu Fabra).

Marie-Monique Schaper, Ole Sejer Iversen, Laura Malinverni, Narcis Pares. (2019). FUBImethod: Strategies to engage Children in the co-design of  Full-Body interactive experiences. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies., 132: 52-69. DOI=  

Marie-Monique Schaper, Maria Santos, and Narcis Pares. (2018). Orchestrating experts’ assumptions and children’s values in the design of Virtual Heritage experiences. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction. DOI=

Marie-Monique Schaper, Maria Santos, Laura Malinverni, Juan Zerbini Berro and Narcis Pares. (2018). Learning about the past through situatedness, embodied exploration and digital augmentation of cultural heritage sites. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. DOI=

Marie-Monique Schaper, Maria Santos, Laura Malinverni and Narcis Pares. (2017). Co-Designing Virtual Heritage Experiences for Archaeological Sites based on the novel AR Paradigm World-as-Support ACM Celebration of Women in Computing, WomENCourage Conference 2017. See conference abstract 

Maria Santos, Marie-Monique Schaper, and Narcis Pares. 2017. Moving through the past: design and evaluation of a full-body interaction learning environment for a public space. In Proceedings of the XVIII International Conference on Human Computer Interaction (Interacción '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 54, 3 pages. DOI:

Marie-Monique Schaper, Maria Santos, Laura Malinverni and Narcis Pares. (2017). Towards the Design of a Virtual Heritage Experience based on the World-as-Support Interaction Paradigm. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '17). DOI=


Principal researchers

Narcis Pares


Marie-Monique Schaper
Maria Santos Baranco
Juan Zerbini Berro

Museu d'Historia de Barcelona


Escola Perez Iborra

Escola Drassanes



The project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

The Grant number is: TIN2014-60599-P