Digital Periscope is an user-controlled installation to be put up at 240 Central Park West, which shares the view of Columbus Circle, Central Park and most of midtown Manhattan from the roof of the building, with people in the lobby.

Project by Michelle P Boisson, Kaitlin Till-Landry, Tak Cheung, and Mark Breneman.

Our group was asked to design something for the residential building at the corner of Columbus Circle, 240 Central Park South. We had unprecedented assess to the building thanks to the building’s owner (Jim) and manager (Peter). After a few visits to the building, which included the subbasement’s water heating to the tippy top of the roof, and meeting with a few residents we started to brainstorm possible interventions. One thing we were really impressed with was the vantage point on the roof. It over looked Central Park, Columbus Circle and surrounding canons of modern skyscrapers. We thought it was be a nice feature to provide this vantage point from the street level, making the building into a physical building periscope.

The installation was a lot of fun, scary at times, since we had to climb to the very of the building to install this camera.

Once we had the camera up, we could view it and control it remotely. Here’s a screen grab of us checking out the view.

Screen Recording of Roof Cam from Michelle Boisson on Vimeo.

For the physical form of the viewing device we wanted to keep the aesthetics of a periscope but we knew we had to work within the space. At first we wanted to have this be an optional indoor/outdoor platform. We realized later it would suit the building better being only an indoor viewing device.

The prototype:

A first rending:

Next evolution:

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The client liked the idea behind this but was worried about the amount of space it takes up and the color which doesn’t match with the aesthetic of the building. With that in mind, we came up with the following idea which they accepted. This final concept design is lighter and borrows from the aesthetic of a periscope. The eye piece rotates up and down for tilting the camera and the whole base rotates around sideways to pan the camera.

final concept screenshot

a walk through of some rough sketches:

password: digital periscope