Upcycling combined with community revitalization results in a brilliant, purpose-filled space, just like this wonderful arts-themed recycled shipping container project in Venezuela. Spearheaded by architecture firm Pico Colectivo, the Cultural Production Zone consists of several stacked shipping containers adjoined to a pre-existing structure that suffered damage during previous protests in the area.
Comprised of three levels, the 5,920-square-foot complex was finished in 2016 and serves as a cultural hub in Guacara of Carabobo State, Venezuela. The Cultural Production Zone houses an office, bathrooms, TV, and recording studios complete with a control room in the original structure. The shipping container portion of the building—which was funded by a state program—holds a rehearsal studio, gallery, coffee shop, cafeteria, audiovisual lab, and multipurpose meeting space. Visitors also have access to an urban garden and a skate plaza.
The architects described the purpose of the Cultural Production Zone as a way of addressing “the need for collective spaces, as a result of the evidence of huge gaps and precarious structures, common in the center of the city.”
Additionally, designers offered a vivid breakdown of the construction process, comparing it to “parasites that lodge on a foreign body.” As Pico Collective explained to Inhabitat, successfully meshing the old and new materials obviously took a bit of creativity. “The design establishes a use of parts and components from modules and patterns similar to the properties of the same structuring objects. A substructure supported by previous foundations. A building assembled on top of another, by means of individual terminals that are added until organizing the whole.”
Fortunately, the use of recycled shipping containers to revitalize a community is a part of a growing global trend. In 2017, residents in the Johannesburg’s Maboneng Precinct further solidified its reputation as a bustling creative center with completion of a cargotecture project. It transformed 140 recycled shipping containers into a retail space, along with a massive apartment complex that offers affordable housing.