It’s been a while since I’ve profiled a standout — or in this case, standup — work of cargotecture, a trend that breathes new life into decommissioned shipping containers, particularly as pop-up retail and dining “experiences” or as more enduring housing solutions — housing solutions for penny-pinching college students, urban homesteaders, oil workers, recluses and miscreants.
Many have accused shipping container architecture of jumping the shark. And perhaps it has. But that’s why this project from Brazilian architect Pedro Barata is so special. Both simple and ingenious, nothing like it has been done before.
That being said, you can’t live, work and/or sell lattes out of this reclaimed corrugated steel box. Flipped on its end, the container in question has been transformed into a gargantuan periscope that allows for some unique long-distance peeping. The targeted view is of Lagoa Santa (Holy Lake), a water feature located in a Brazilian municipality of the same name that’s largely obscured from a distance by elements both natural (trees) and man-made (buildings).
Standing 41-feet-tall, Barata’s so-called Superiscópio — it’s billed the world’s largest periscope, by the way — was fashioned in a little over a month with a budget of roughly $5,580. To transform the box into an oversized optical instrument, Barata cut out the requisite holes at both the top and bottom, painted the interior black and installed two large mirrors at a 45-degree angle using a wooden framework.
“That's kind of the beauty of it: the container as a ready-made periscope. Just like making one out of a milk carton package when we were kids,” Barata explains to Dezeen. “People react to it as a toy, gathering around to share the 'magic' of being able to see the lagoon at their eye-sight.”
Conceived and erected as a temporary installation for a shipping container design exhibition, Superiscópio was initially to be removed — and ideally installed elsewhere — in November. However, the residents of Lagoa Santa have taken such a liking to the massive lake-viewing apparatus that it will reportedly remain a permanent fixture in town.
Via [Dezeen], [Gizmag]