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PERISCOPE - Reality displacement as space enhancer and energy storage device by Architects Claerhout - Van Biervliet

Project name:
PERISCOPE - Reality displacement as space enhancer and energy storage device
Architecture firm:
Architects Claerhout - Van Biervliet
Tools used:
Vectorworks, SketchUp, Blender
Principal architect:
Xaveer Claerhout, Barbara Van Biervliet
Design team:
Adriaan Claerhout, Xaveer Claerhout, Barbara Van Biervliet
Built area:
1,600 m²
Site area:
3,600 m²
Design year:
Completion year:
Adriaan Claerhout
Adriaan Claerhout
The Right Believer
In Progress
Metamorphic Architecture : architecture capable of physically adapting to the needs of the moment

Architects Claerhout - Van Biervliet: We like to present the latest creation from Metamorphic Art Studio: ‘PERISCOPE - Reality displacement as space enhancer and energy storage device’. It is an enchanting exploration of reality displacement, seamlessly blending enhanced living spaces with energy storage. Crafted by the creative minds of architect Xaveer Claerhout, engineer-architect Barbara Van Biervliet and artist Adriaan Claerhout, this artwork delves into the potential of periscope architecture as a gravity battery.


As available construction space diminishes, the need for groundbreaking architectural solutions becomes paramount. Enter periscope architecture - a highly innovative concept that not only challenges conventions but also presents an entirely new perspective on reality. Imagine being able to observe your surroundings from beneath the earth's surface, free from the constraints of conventional building structures. By constructing below ground level, the dreary basement ambiance is banished, giving rise to a remarkable microclimate within the building. This awe-inspiring design features two mirrored walls positioned at a perfect 45-degree angle, capable of vertical movement, unveiling a world of visual and spatial possibilities. Furthermore, the lower and upper mirrors can be independently raised and lowered, opening up visual access from and to additional underground floors. While the multi-story building itself remains steadfast and hidden below, only the outer mirror components ascend and descend, ushering natural light and breathtaking panoramic views deep into the structure. The periscope system breathes life into space like never before.


Harnessing the energy of the sun, solar-powered synchronized servo engines raise the mirror components during the day, resulting in light and view on the landscape from below ground. As twilight descends, these mirror elements gracefully descend, seamlessly merging with the ground once more. Through the use of ball spindles and electric generators, the building enters its "sleep mode," transforming this dormant state into reusable energy. The periscope structure not only captivates with its architectural qualities but also serves as an eco-conscious energy solution.


At the heart of the fascination of Metamorphic Art Studio lies the creation of an innovative, state-of-the-art building that intertwines sustainability, metamorphosis and a reverence for the rich spatial traditions found in Roman and Palladian villas. Periscope architecture goes beyond mere reflection—it empowers to shift reality itself. By seamlessly merging metamorphic architecture with multifunctional mirrors that double as screens, integrated as periscopes, the boundaries between virtual and physical realms dissolve harmoniously.


Step into a realm where Metamorphic Art Studio with its architects and artists unite to shape a metamorphic reality. While many contemporary artists strive to recreate the physical world virtually, this studio takes a bold and innovative approach. They endeavor to bring the physical world closer to the captivating realms of the virtual, embracing a metamorphic reality that allows certain aspects of artifacts to undergo profound physical transformations. In this uncharted territory where the virtual and morphing physical worlds converge, art, architecture, and design intertwine to create smart, sustainable, organic, and truly immersive experiences in four dimensions.


In September 2008 during the exhibition of Abitare il Tempo in Verona, Xaveer Claerhout and Barbara Van Biervliet introduced for the very first time the term : 'Metamorphic Architecture'. They also unveiled the ‘Kinetower’ and the first prototypes of metamorphic luminaires such as the ’New York lamp'. The ‘Kinetower’ is the visual manifesto of their principle called ‘Metamorphism : towards a new kinetic architecture’.

The groundbreaking works embodying the principles of metamorphic art, architecture and design have earned Metamorphic Art Studio a distinguished place in the permanent collection of the prestigious Centre Pompidou in Paris. Currently a portion of their metamorphic work is on display in the fascinating exhibition 'un tiempo propio' at the Centre Pompidou of Malaga Spain still on view until October 15, 2023.

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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