Socrates sculpture park to expand with 18 shipping containers


Architecture studio LOT-EK has announced the ground-breaking of ‘The Cubes,’ the new home for Long Island City‘s Socrates Sculpture Park — a space which exhibits contemporary public art and aims to foster community. With 2,640 square feet of interior space, the two-story building will take shape as an assemblage of eighteen reused shipping containers to celebrate the industrial roots of the New York City neighborhood. The architecture will also express the park’s founding principles of creative reclamation and adaptable re-use. Once completed, it will become the first permanent structure in the park’s thirty-year history. The project is expected to reach completion in early 2024.

socrates sculpture parkimages courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park



the history of the traveling structure ‘the cubes’


Currently taking shape at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York, The Cubes began its life as a commission by the Whitney Museum of American Art when it was located on Madison Avenue. At the time, the shipping container construction covered only 720 square feet across one level and housed the museum’s educational programming. When the Whitney moved to its current location in Chelsea, it offered The Cubes as a donation to the Socrates Sculpture Park. This led to the expansion of both the park, and of the architects‘ original concept.


The design of LOT-EK’s The Cubes grew and transformed with the addition of twelve shipping containers — for a total of eighteen — stacked across two levels. Diagonal bands of glass cut across the walls and roof, introducing natural light and views of the park and the skyline beyond — all while maintaining generous wall space inside for indoor exhibitions.

socrates sculpture park's shipping container home 'the cubes' begins construction



the multifunctional design by lot-ek


The architects at LOT-EK plan The Cubes with an inherently multi-functional design, suiting the flexible needs of the Socrates Sculpture Park. It will have two primary uses — it will primarily host administrative offices, giving the organization a physical presence in the park as it operates and programs. Next, the building will provide an indoor space — capable of housing classes of up to 70 children and teens — for curatorial, educational, and community programming during the fall and winter months of the school year.


A 480 square-foot shaded deck area will also host outdoor classes and programming. Meanwhile, the rooftop will be fit with solar panels to provide renewable energy while offering a teaching tool for sustainable practices. The Socrates Sculpture Park writes: ‘This new home secures the Park’s future, so generations to come can enjoy the Park and take advantage of our programs.’

socrates sculpture park



project info:


project title: The Cubes

architecture: LOT-EK | @lot_ek

client: Socrates Sculpture Park | @socratespark

location: Long Island City, New York

park director: Tamsin Dillon | @tamsindillon