Architecture: a house within a house

Posted: March 8, 2009 in creativity
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The guys at Inhabit say they’re big fans of architect Adam Kalkin and it is easy to see why. This Kalkin piece called Bunny Lane is a house within a house in Kalkin’s home state of New Jersey. It’s not a new concept but aesthetically it seems well executed. The outer one building provides a shell, designed almost as a modern, industrial shed complete with unique features, custom roll-up doors and 3 stories of rooms at one end. The inner house is a traditional two-story New Jersey home, shining like a white-washed and pristine dolls house – and that for me is the only let-down of the whole aesthetic experience.

In terms of lifestyle, the design of the building seems to create a strong link between the main living area and the outside environment – sheltered but connected through large window walls when shut away from its external surroundings and open to wind and light with the doors rolled up. At the other end of the shed, the three stories of rooms with modern fixtures, metal staircases and lots of windows are well designed and could provide an exciting contrast to a tastefully designed inner house and the living area’s furniture. So, the idea is great.

Inhabitat mentioned that they “covered Kalkin’s other work before […], including his Quik House, made from recycled shipping containers. The shell of the Quik House can be erected in a day, and ready to occupy in 3 months. Kalkin is probably best known for his Push Button House, a single cargo container that unfolds, with the push of a button, into a plush little home”.

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Inhabitat is a blog committed to innovation and highly aesthetic and user-focused design and technology that lead to a smarter, eco-friendly and sustainable way of living – all elements of “good design” which also includes “social context”. While “form and function” at Bunny Lane seem to be “intertwined” and even “social context” (for example middle class, aspirational maybe) could be assumed when judging the relationship between “style and substance”, I’m not so sure about the sustainability aspects. New Jersey for example is not exactly tropical, so it would have been good to share a few thoughts on how well the buildings (especially the outer one)  are insulated, especially when considering the large windows, metal cladding the large and expansive space provided by the outer shell. Energy related questions would also have to be asked in connection to the internal lighting of the buildings, which seems quite extensive. And what about the need for water recycling, water collection, the sustainability and ecology focused link between the building and its external environment? It’s a bit of a pity that the Inhabitat post spends much time considering the aesthetics but none on what seems to be the other core element of the blog’s mission.

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For more info on Bunny Lane go to the Inhabitat site; see also the original link for the Inhabitat post on  Apartment Therapy .

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