Prefabrication key process on tough site
Nat Holloway is a founder and director of Box™, an award winning architectural design and build firm based in Kingsland, Auckland. Box™ is currently completing projects across the North Island.
Since establishing in 2008 Box Build™ has also ventured into commercial work.Before this in 2004 Nat set up a design and build company focussing on ecological building systems.
Around this time he met architect Tim Dorrington and builder Nat Jakich and the idea of Box™ began to incubate.“We all liked the concept of the modernist mid-century movement. We didn’t see there was a need to build larger houses than necessary but instead focussed on getting the design elements right so space isn’t wasted.
We wanted to find a process that could deliver this philosophy to clients in an affordable way, hence part-prefabrication was born,” says Nat.Eventually professionally qualified interior designer Samantha Elliot joined the team to take on the role of designing and advising clients on interior fit outs.
When the opportunity presented to design a beach home for a couple to retreat to on Waiheke Island Box™ could see how the prefabrication of formed pieces off-site would work very well on the challenging terrain the home would be built on.
“The home itself was built in West-Auckland and we made use of the fact that the section it would be placed on sloped away on three sides to build a car-deck on the top. “There was no fl at ground so building the home from scratch on site would have been very tough,” says Nat.
House components were shipped on a ferry to the Island. Each unit was within a size capable of being carried by lorry from the wharf to the site.The home has a mono-pitch roof and is single storey. It takes in amazing views from the top of a hill. The roof profile is also replicated in the cladding, tying the home together.
For Samantha, the project gave her great scope to be involved in all aspects of the materials and design of the home, which has a gentle concave elongated shape to it to make best use of the site and the extensive decking outside.Today, Samantha operates her own boutique Interior Architecture business Green Room Studio, located in Auckland.
She remembers the build on Belle Terrace as a professionally engaging project where her input was sought on a wide array of design elements.“This is one of the things I really appreciated about working with Nat and the team at Box™. “I was able to research and advise on a broad design template, rather than just colours and joinery for instance.”
Samantha says the emphasis on using laminated timber technologies throughout coupled with the choice to remain neutral in the colour pallet works really well for the home.“The owners wanted something simple, tasteful and restful. It really was all about the amazing view, not a home full of colour inside that would detract from this.”
Since the build on Waiheke Island using the prefabricated building system, two other homes have been built, however the team at Box™ have decided to broaden out to main-stream architecture forms.“We didn’t want to limit the design through the moduality of it.
We build all over greater Auckland and have had much success these past two years in the House of the Year competition, receiving awards from five homes entered in various categories,” says Nat.And for Samantha, now working for herself, its an exciting phase in her professional career in design.
“I’ve always had a bent toward interior design and knew it was what I wanted to do when I was at high-school. I gained a Bachelor of Design Interior in Dunedin.”When Business North spoke with Samantha she was working on a preliminary design for a wonderful new residence in Grey Lynn.
“Given the area it is in the house has had to comply with heritage status consent conditions in terms of materials and how the home presents itself on the site. “It is a very modern looking house with stunning features such as a beautiful internal stair-well with internal garden.”
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