Construction system based on pre-fabricated components allows development on a previously unbuildable site – also allows for savings in cost and time in construction, and high level of design quality and energy efficiency.
Located in the heart of Remuera, the north-facing section was so steep and problematic that it had been on the market for several years. The challenge with this project was to construct a family home with three bedrooms and two living areas on a near vertiginous site that also had complicated issues with access.
Box, a design-and-build company that has developed a modular system of construction which means many elements of the structure are standardised and able to be prefabricated off-site. Box™ uses a post-and-beam structure and a kitset of parts which means cost-savings are made both in the design stages and on site, since the houses can be constructed in a shorter time-frame. Standardised components in a Box™ home include the posts, beams, wall panels, glazing panels, brackets and stainless-steel cross braces that anchor the structure.
On this site – the result was significant savings in terms of time and cost over a standard construction methodology.
Box architect Tim Dorrington designed this home to a modular grid, in response to the site and the owners' requirements. Using increments of material sizes meant less off-cut - better for the budget and for the environment. Although the dwelling accommodates a family of five, its footprint is a modest 168 square metres. A driveway slivered alongside a Victorian cottage at street level leads to a mechanised turning platform for cars. From here, the owners must descend by foot via a set of stairs to the home below.
Modernist in style in a palette of dark timber with floor-to-ceiling glass, the two-storey house is planned around a central staircase encased in a ribcage of battens that lets light into the middle of the building - and no corridors mean no wasted space. Oriented for passive solar gain and with concrete floors to capture and slowly release the heat, energy efficiency is integral to the planning.
The Box modular philosophy inhabits a sector of the market that sits midway between bespoke architecture and the products that generic house building companies offer. By opting for a modular, partly pre-fabricated design, the owners were able to buy a section that many had discounted as too difficult. And by using a system that is standardised in some ways, yet personalised in others, they achieved a much more affordable home.