When architect Adam Kalkin placed a huge airplane hangar over his 1880s New Jersey farmhouse, he hoped to gain space for his family while preserving the original clapboard cottage: “it’s kind of a ship in a bottle type of thing”.
He also hoped to continue to reimagine our idea of home: his Push-Button Home is a pop-up house in a shipping container; and other Quik House is an affordable, rapidly-deployable shipping container home; Solar House is an A-frame of nothing but solar panels and shipping containers.
With his “Bunny Lane” home, Kalkin assembled a conventional Butler aircraft hangar around the original small home, but that is only a part of the story. At one end of the 27-foot-high, 33-foot-wide space, Kalkin created a grid of nine rooms from concrete block. A kind of modern treehouse, this all-glass wall of rooms peers down on the original home and a small “piazza” or “town square”.
“It’s got kind of an urban roofscape thing, I always like seeing roofs. You get that feeling like you get sometimes in New York… You know just because you’re in the country- I want to recall urban experiences- why can’t you recall urban experiences in a house in the country.”
For Kalkin, the mix of materials and eras in one home is important. “I clearly have a respect for old things, but I want to incorporate them into a dialogue with present, future, past. I’m just saying, ‘what’s your idea of a utopia?’ This isn’t necessarily what is historically considered a utopian house… but how do you create something that you can actually live in that doesn’t make you sad about looking backward? How do you build a present in architecture, how do you build an eternal present? So this is a way of answering that question.”