Architects Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, known as LOT/EK, have cultivated a body of work incorporating rugged elements of industry into their projects. Currently on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art is their architectural prototype, the Mobile Dwelling Unit (MDU), which incorporates a domestic program into a building-block of commerce: the shipping container.
At 9'-6" tall x 40'-0" long x 8'-0" high, the standardized steel shipping container has remained constant since 1955, and seven million of them move from port to port around the world.
In the residential format of the MDU, the shipping container can be considered "a trailer home for traveling between global villages," containing a fully-functioning interior with deployable elements for bathing, cooking, eating, sleep, and storage. It remains completely mobile, and one's home and life become completely and easily transportable, at least in a purely physical sense.
The Mobile Dwelling Unit is on view through this Sunday, September 19 in the Sculpture Court of the Whitney Museum of American Art (945 Madison Ave. at 75th Street). Museum hours are 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday), 1-9 p.m. Friday (donation 6-9 p.m.). The Whitney is currently offering $2 off admission with this coupon.