Adam Kalkin isn’t the only architect to make homes out of shipping containers. A handful of architects, began using them ten years ago as a gritty reaction against the tidy white surfaces of modernism. But nobody has employed shipping containers more inventively than Kalkin, a New Jersey architect and artist who has used them to design luxurious homes, museum additions and refugee housing.
In architectural circles, Kalkin is regarded as something of an oddball. He began his talk at the Urban Center in New York Tuesday night by playing the first five minutes of a Jerry Lewis film, followed by the actor’s acceptance speech at the Academy Awards last month. His website includes lessons on hitting a tennis forehand and a selection of songs to sing after taking antidepressants. Years ago Kalkin shaved while delivering a lecture at the Whitney Museum.
His talk this week was tied to the publication of Quik Build: Adam Kalkin’s ABC of Container Architecture ($49.95), which shows 32 of his projects in all their odd ingenuity, including Bunny Lane, a home he built for himself with a 19th century clapboard cottage inside an industrial hanger, and the Push Button House, a furnished room that unfolds from a container with hydraulic walls.
For all his artsy provocations, Kalkin’s strategy makes some practical sense. After all, shipping containers are cheap, mobile and highly recyclable. The Kalkin project that puts these qualities to best use is the Quik House, a prefab home ($150 a square foot) made from six shipping containers that can be completed in three months. A smaller version, called the A Pod ($50,000), will be available later this year. Read more HERE.