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Drivelines, designed by LOT-EK, in Johannesberg’s Maboneng Precinct.

Drivelines, designed by LOT-EK, in Johannesberg’s Maboneng Precinct.

Photographer: Ilan Godfrey for Bloomberg Marketsa
Markets Magazine

Taking a Brighter Approach to Housing in Johannesburg

An award-winning architectural design studio transformed shipping containers into a residential building. A fresh coat of paint gives the building a vibrant look.


Johannesburg’s  Maboneng Precinct is all about revival. Once an abandoned, crime-­ridden neighborhood, it was transformed into a bustling, trendy area about a decade ago by a daring young developer. It was in this context that LOT-EK, the award-­winning architectural design studio founded by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, constructed a unique building entirely out of upcycled shipping containers. Drivelines, as the structure is known, was recently repainted for its newest tenants—university students—who arrive in February. The bright colors showcase the architects’ desire to combine art, design and sustainability. LOT-EK’s work has been shown at New York’s Whitney Museum and the Venice Biennale. A documentary about Tolla and Lignano, We Start With the Things We Find, is scheduled to premiere this year.