|From Grid to Box the Containerization of Modern Architecture|
Rationalization. One of the key elements of modern architecture is rationalization: houses made of prefabricated, industrially produced, modularized parts, standardization of measures, scientific research into and analytical division of space. The invention of the grid can be considered one of the main pre-modern steps towards modern usage of space. Scaled up to the dimension of whole continents and scaled down to the dimension of single tenements, the grid becomes the premier medium of the idea of total space control. When folded up in the third dimension, the grid defines a pattern of similar rectangular forms. That’s how modern architecture’s obsession with boxes can be systematized: smaller scale grids within larger scale grid. Boxes in patterns.
Industrial living. According to Le Corbusier, a modern house is a machine consisting of cells. Like other heralds of modern architecture and industrial building, such as Gropius, Wachsmann, or Neufert, Le Corbusier takes his inspirations from traffic and from logistics: Planes, automobiles, steam ships, the idea of mobility, and the tayloristic control of human as well as material processes in the modern factory shape their programs of industrial building and living. The modernistic vision of the city resembles a factory turned inside out: perfectly coordinated flow of materials, communication and workers. Its key spatial element is the rationalistic, multi-usable, stackable box-shaped module, a “room with no qualities”, a container.Container age. Officially, the “age of containers” only started in the second half of the 20th century with the implementation of the standardized shipping container in global trade traffic. Can it nevertheless be stated that nowadays ubiquitous post-architectural (sub)urban room element, the living container, was unconsciously pre-established in the machine visions of modern architecture?