Inside the box

The future of modern building looks modular

Words Sophie Bond

There’s more than one way to build a house, and not everyone wants to grapple with the uncertain cost and complications of a new build. One solution is modular housing. Sophie Bond investigates

Prefabricated housing may conjure up mental images of flimsy, cookiecutter buildings, but three New Zealand companies are creating modern modular homes that challenge that perception.

Box Living’s three modules can be arranged and stacked in multiple configurations to suit different sites, family sizes and budgets. With their clean lines and light-filled open spaces, Box dwellings (pictured) are modern, practical and way more stylish than your average prefab.

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Dan Heyworth, general manager of Box Living (www.boxliving.co.nz), says the concept was born out of frustration at the cost, uncertainty and time involved in constructing a bespoke, architect-designed house. “We thought there must be a cleverer way.” Dan reckons Box Living can design and build an abode for about a quarter of the cost of an architecturally designed house, and in about a third of the time.

It’s about building smarter, says Nick Hall of Quick Living (www.quickliving.co.nz). And faster—his company’s first modular home was built in just 30 days.

Modular houses are an eco-dream. Because the houses are assembled from pre-designed and prefabricated components, their construction produces a fraction of the waste of a conventional build. Their modular design means additions are simple and your house can expand along with your family, so you’re never heating (or cleaning) space you don’t need.

The modular dwellings offered by Hybrid Homes (www.hybridhomes.co.nz) are designed in three stages, to see you all the way from a one-bedroom starter home to a two-bathroom, three-bedroomplus- study family homestead— without moving once.

Like any decent new build, a good modular home will be designed and positioned to absorb heat from the sun, and offer double-glazing and up-rated insulation as the standard, with options for solar water heating and rainwater collection.

Beyond that, modular homes are more customisable than you might think. All the internal walls in Quick Living’s open-plan designs are made from joinery units. Box Living homes have all the structural support on the outside, meaning it’s easy to make alterations to the interior.

With sleek, simple and sustainable designs like these, the future of modern housing looks modular.

See also www.hatchhouse.co.nz/

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