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Augmented Space

Augmented Space

Welcome to the website of the augmented reality application (app) “Augmented Space”. The app was developed as part of a four-year research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) (2015–19). The application-oriented research project investigates from a design-centered perspective how the ongoing digitalization affects and will affect the surrounding world and spaces in a sensory way. The app offers a historical perspective on the Campus of the Arts (formerly the site of the Basel bonded warehouse) and combines this view with a contemporary critique of the practice of art-related bonded warehouses. Once intended as temporary storage sites for trade, today’s bonded warehouses are discrete security bunkers guarded around the clock. The aim of the app is to provide a better understanding of the area and to raise awareness of a topical issue.


The historical layer brings the former Basel bonded warehouse on the Campus of the Arts back to life. Augmentations (AR) of historical situations are presented at nine locations: For example, the car loading by an electric crane or the truck traffic on the inland parking lot. In each case, the current scenery is overlaid with historical images, thus enabling a simultaneous experience of the past and the present. The locations are drawn on the map and additionally marked in space. A text conveys the development of the area as well as the various construction stages of the site up to today’s Campus of the Arts.


This historical layer is expanded by a speculative layer that addresses the art market, art collecting, and bonded warehouses related to art. In this critical-political dimension, dynamic data is condensed into a speculative space. The presentation of the different information takes place in space by means of a compass view or via a globe or map. By selecting layers (Locations, Collectors, Values) the corresponding content can be augmented in space or displayed on the map resp. globe. On the basis of four stories–all of which are connected to Switzerland–the world of art scandals is introduced.

“Augmented Spaces and Maps. Das Design von kartenbasierten Interfaces”

Next to Augmented Space AR App, a book entitled “Augmented Spaces and Maps. Das Design von kartenbasierten Interfaces” is a result of the SNSF-funded basic research project carried by Dr. Christine Schranz between 2015–2019. ⁠
With the convergence of space, media and design, it is not only the design practices that change radically but also the surfaces that are to be designed: Digital maps offer an interface to the physical world and allow novel forms of navigation and experience of space. At the same time, the new role of the internet companies turning to cartographers raise questions about inequalities and hegemonial claims built into their digital services.⁠

This book is an introduction in the field of digital cartographies. It sketches out important influences, theories and approaches, and, through current examples, shows how map-based interfaces can work. These foundations also offer inspiration for critical and experimental approaches relevant for designers and other practitioners in the field.⁠
In German. Available as Open Access at Birkhäuser website


Independently of location a virtual tour guides visitors through the history of the Basel bonded warehouse on the basis of a 3D model superimposed with the historical images. To access the 3D tour, scan the historical aerial photo of the bonded warehouse in the book “Augmented Spaces and Maps” on page 227.⁠

Christine Schranz is a designer and holds a PhD in Spatial Design from the University of Vienna, in cooperation with the Zurich University of the Arts. She is a  Head of Research programme at the Institute of Contemporary Design Practices (ICDP) at the Academy of Art and Design FHNW in Basel and a person in charge of the  Design Research module at the Master Program. She is currently conducting a research project in “Commons in Design”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). 


“Augmented Space”, SNSF-Project 2015–2019 in collaboration with FHNW School of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geomatics

Project lead: Christine Schranz, Institute Contemporary Design Practices (formerly Institute Integrative Design | Masterstudio) HGK FHNW  (Idea, Concept and Design)

Project team: Urs Clement (coding), Max Frischknecht (UX/Design), Merle Ibach (assistance)

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