Last week, I featured nifty M112 Pod Miniatures from Paris Renfroe Designs — a great gift idea for pint-sized green architects-in-training as well as design-obsessed adults — so I thought I’d follow up with a post on a remarkable human-sized shipping container home, the Mobile Dwelling Unit (MDU) from New-York-based prefab powerhouse LOT-EK.

And while we’re on the topic of size, it’s worth immediately pointing out the most distinguishing feature of the MDU: its width. 

However green or tricked-out, shipping container homes like other mobile dwellings, suffer from the “long but narrow” syndrome. Sure, a standard, prefabricated 40-foot long shipping container home might sound spacious but you might forget that they’re awfully darn tight. The ingenious engineering of the MDU remedies the cramped curse of shipping container living with eight pop-out elements that fold out from the 8-foot wide core of the home, accordion style, when the home is stationary. When the home is in transit, the elements — a kitchen, full bathroom, reading nook, bed, desk, sofa, and storage space — can be folded back in to their slots.

Not only do the folding elements of the MDU add much-needed square footage to the highly customizable interior of home but they also add textured flair to the exterior; a distinct departure from the plain rectangular shape of shipping container dwellings. And I’m a huge fan of the simple, modern plywood paneling and cheery red accents.

Living and/or working in a salvaged shipping container (or any kind of dwelling that’s built to be moved) certainly isn’t for everyone despite their efficiency and flexibility. But kudos to LOT-EK for making the concept that much more appealing. What do you think of the MDU?
Via [Ecofriend] via [Dornob]

Photos: LOT-EK

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The little red shipping container home that could
The marvelously mod Mobile Dwelling Unit (MDU) is a wee bit less claustrophobic than other shipping container homes thanks to inventive fold-out elements.