All for one and one for all: a new breed of housing design with Box architects

A new breed of architectural practice and construction company that may have one of the answers to New Zealands’ housing crisis is here. With architects, builders, project managers, interior and landscape designers all included, they’re a company that does it all.

Based in its new Kingsland office, Box runs projects from Matapouri to Wanaka.

Having recently moved into the top floor of the former Kiwi bacon factory on New North Road, the company now has enough room to swing a pig and showcase their product in the warehouse-like office.

Over the last five years, the company has grown from a modest team of two to employing 25 staff. Their focus on developing modular, modernist design system for homes without blowing the budget has been applauded.

But their most recent milestone was the completion of their first multi-unit development in Nelson.

With style inspiration drawn on from the English styled mews, the Nelson property is rightly named ‘Sussex mews’.

Located on a corner section of the inner city are six townhouses laid out in the style of a mews.

The mix of double-storey and single-level dwellings all have individual courtyard gardens and double garages, which create a sense of community.

Box CEO Dan Heyworth says: “We envisioned the concept of a mews where houses are terraced around a central lane.

Each home is oriented for optimum sun on a compact footprint that encourages a sense of neighbourliness.”

The have adapted their trademark post and beam structural system to the multi-unit project.

Plywood cladding, stainless-steel cross bracing and some precast concrete panels to comply with inter-unit fire rating criteria, make up the strong design statement in a city that is historically populated by weatherboard houses.

The three and four bedroom residences are all open plan designs complete with concrete floors and small internal courtyards, bringing in natural light to the heart of the homes.

“The success of Sussex Mews just goes to show that the residents of Nelson recognise good design and are willing to invest in it,” says developer James Purves.

The section could have been a low-apartment building or a cookie-cutter collection of units; the mews option provides an attractive inner-city section.

“Box offered a realistic value for money proposition – good looking architecturally designed houses as well as a guaranteed construction cost and completion date,” says Heyworth.