MDU – Mobile Dwelling Unit

One shipping container is transformed into a Mobile Dwelling Unit. Cuts in the metal walls of the container generate extruded sub-volumes, each encapsulating one living, working or storage function.


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One shipping container is transformed into a Mobile Dwelling Unit. Cuts in the metal walls of the container generate extruded sub-volumes, each encapsulating one living, working or storage function.

When traveling, these sub-volumes are pushed in, filling the entire container. They then interlock with each other, leaving the outer skin of the container flush to allow worldwide standard shipping. When in use, all sub-volumes are pushed out, leaving the interior of the container completely unobstructed with all functions accessible along its sides.

The interior of the container and the sub-volumes are fabricated entirely out of plywood and plastic coated plywood, including all fixtures and furnishings. The MDU was originally conceived for individuals constantly moving around the globe.

The MDU travels with its dweller to the next long term destination, fitted with all live/work equipment and filled with the dweller’s belongings. However, it is easily configured for permanent residency.

Client: University Art Museum, UCSB
Project Type: Mobile Dwelling
Size: 500SF
Completed: 2003
Structural Consultant: Giulia Viggiani
Photography: Courtesy of the Walker Art Center
Exhibited at: Whitney museum of American Art, New York, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, University Art Museum, UCSB

Shipping Container Home Made Easy™

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