After completing architecture school at Universita’ di Napoli, Italy, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano fell in love with New York City, deciding in 1995 to establish an innovative firm in Manhattan called LOT-EK. Early experiments in the art world grew into a substantial architecture practice, but their philosophy has always been the same: Both Ada and Giuseppe are focused on a concept they call “up-cycling,” taking existing objects and elevating them through art, design, and architecture. The firm has done its most innovative work re-using shipping containers and received a wave of attention this year for a Brooklyn residential project that utilized 21 shipping containers in surprising, stunning ways.
The firm has just released its second monograph, LOT-EK: Objects and Operations, a photo-heavy showcase of dozens of projects the firm produced around the world over the past 15 years. “LOT-EK is a design practice that believes in being unoriginal, ugly, and cheap,” the book states. “Also in being revolutionary, gorgeous, and completely luxurious.” With 6sqft, co-founder Giuseppe Lignano talks about the early days of running a firm and waiting tables in 1990s New York, explains the firm’s philosophy behind sustainability and re-use, and discusses the inspiration behind their notable Williamsburg project.
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It would hardly raise an eyebrow to note that the Brooklyn couple behind the wildly popular Williamsburg barbecue joint Fette Sau hired an architect to build them a 25-by-100-foot home on a corner lot in the neighborhood. But in this case, the architects are Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano of the firm LOT-EK, which means the house in question is likely to cause at least a few double-takes. Rising from that corner lot, this remarkable single-family residence was made from 21 steel shipping containers, tamed and transformed into a sleek and surprisingly livable home.
See more of this unconventional home of corrugated steel and glass
File this under kooky design schemes that actually work. Inhabitat NYC profiled a Clinton Hill carriage house completely transformed by a shipping container tower built inside. The homeowners, artist Markus Linnenbrink and art dealer Cindy Rucker, were on the hunt for an architect who could renovate with as many sustainable elements as possible. They picked the design firm LOT-EK due to their specialty in shipping container buildings. The result? A container tower that serves as the core of this retrofitted carriage house, and many more repurposed details throughout.
Check it out
Images: Javits Center courtsey of Inhabitat NYC; Woman riding a bike via yourdon‘s Flickr
We’ve seen Manhattanites do all kinds of crazy and creative things to maximize space—from turning their ovens into closets to lofting entire rooms—but the Guzman Penthouse by LOT-EK is one of our favorite transformations.
To expand this penthouse residence, LOT-EK revamped an old mechanical room, added a 20-foot shipping container to serve as the master bedroom, and created a spacious rooftop patio, all of which sit on top of the building with jaw-dropping Empire State Building views.
You can’t miss the rest of this one-of-a-kind home
At first glance, there’s nothing particularly unique about the facade of this white brick townhouse, but take a second look and you’ll see that there’s more to the building than meets the eye. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the protruding bay windows aren’t made from ordinary frames, but from sections of stainless steel truck bodies.
The recycled windows are a signature of LOT-EK, the studio that owners Lawrence and Alice Weiner hired to re-do their Greenwich Village townhouse. Founded in 1993 by Columbia University grads Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Liganano, the New York and Naples-based firm has become known for its sustainable approach to construction and architecture, namely the use of upcycled steel containers.
More photos of the inside here
Say goodbye to the old wooden bungalows, and hello to a new, much more sustainable community. Ever since Hurricane Sandy devastated Far Rockaway, there have been plans to either rebuild it magnificently or leave it alone. The new design from LOT-EK (famous for their shipping container houses) makes it a beautiful community to rival to those in Manhattan.
Aptly dubbed DUNE CO-HABITAT, the 80+ acre plan involves building a community of houses on raised platforms, and using planted dunes as a natural flood defense.
More details on the distaster-proof design here