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New York, United States


LOT-EK is a team of architects, thinkers, and makers. They gather around their love of people and objects—all things made, seen, unseen, dismissed. LOT-EK upcycles and works with the ordinary. LOT-EK’s team is a tight group of designers who bring their diverse voices, sensibilities, and heritages to this common project. The team’s founding partners, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, work in New York; grew up in Naples, Italy; teach at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation; and have been practicing together since 1993. LOT-EK’s work has been recognized by awards and accolades from the Architecture League’s Emerging Voices to the American Institute of Architects New York chapter Honor Awards, and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. LOT-EK’s second monograph, with Thomas de Monchaux is O+O: Objects + Operations.

CAB 5 Contribution

Project Overview


LOAD IN / LOAD OUT is a staging area and stage for the LOT-EK  Theatre for One (T41). An L-shaped billboard displays a one-to-one  environmental drawing for a deployable object that shelters a  one-to-one performative experience. The installation services T41,  a two-person performer and audience environment upcycled from  “roadcase” (musical or technical instrument case components).  The environment is designed for deployment at urban sites, such  as “theater deserts,” to catalyze intimate public performances.  Conceived by theater-set designer Christine Jones and developed in  its architectural form by LOT-EK, T41, is inspired by small one-to one spaces—such as the confessional or the peep show booth—to  explore the intense emotion of live theater through the direct and  intimate one-to-one interaction of actor and audience. 

As a stage, the LOAD IN / LOAD OUT installation documents and  contextualizes T41 while it is deployed in Chicago communities.  The rear side of the L-shaped billboard holds old and new monitors,  cameras obscura upcycled from delivery boxes, and other ephemera  that locates the project within LOT-EK’s body of research and  design, particularly its URBANSCAN inquiry into the critical noticing  and radical repurposing of abundant infrastructural artifacts.


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Chicago Cultural Center


78 East Washington Street, Chicago, IL


The Loop


The Chicago Cultural Center serves as one of the main exhibition venue sites for CAB 5, featuring projects from more than 80 participants from ten countries. 

Opened in 1897, the Chicago Cultural Center is a Chicago landmark building operated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is home to free cultural exhibits and programming year-round.

Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center
The City is the Site