Venezuela-based architecture practice Pico Colectivo has stacked recycled shipping containers together to transform a vandalized property into the new Cultural Production Zone in the city of Guacara in Carabobo State, Venezuela. Built atop an existing structure, the colorful cargotecture addition offers a creative gathering space for the community with mixed programming that ranges from a skate plaza to a recording studio and music room.

people standing outside stacked shipping container building

The Cultural Production Zone is located on a site where the existing building had been vandalized during protests. In a bid to reactivate the depressed site and address the lack of centrally located creative spaces in the city, Pico Colectivo was tapped to breathe new life to the property. Funds from a state program were used to purchase the project’s shipping containers, technical equipment and cultural tools.

pink and orange shipping containers stacked on a building

angled pink shipping container staircase leading to orange shipping containers

“The strategy is based on supplying the old building with these devices, inserting multiple structures into a single, more complex system, like parasites that lodge on a foreign body,” the architects explained of the additive architecture. “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.”

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building with graffiti below stacked shipping containers

wood patio of a cafe

Completed in 2016, the 550-square-meter Cultural Production Zone comprises three floors. On the ground floor, the TV studio, administrative office, bathrooms and a recording studio and control room are housed within the original building. Stairs placed inside an angled shipping container lead up to the second and third floors that include the exhibition gallery, image lab, rehearsal studio and control room, meeting area and an open-air coffee bar with elevated views of the city. The grounds include a skate plaza and an urban garden.

+ Pico Colectivo

Photography by José Alberto Bastidas via Pico Colectivo

pink and orange shipping containers