The roots of Box™ modernist architectural design and build

Box™ is inspired by mid-century modernist architects, who produced beautiful, accessible and affordable modern homes.

Above: The Foster residence in the Granada Hills area of the San Fernando Valley is an Eichler home that exhibits the post-and-beam structural skeleton and a private windowless face to the street. Photo: WikiCommons.

Post-war architecture and Case Study Homes

At Box™, we are mad on modernism. When American architect Frank Lloyd Wright predicted in 1908 that in the future, architecture would have fewer forms, fewer lines and yet be more articulate, pure and elegant, he was right on the money.

That’s the way modernists such as Richard Neutra, Craig Ellwood, and Charles and Ray Eames were designing in the post-war boom of West Coast California.

They were all participants in the Case Study House programme which re-defined the floor-plan of the modern home to be more casual. They championed a distinctive clean-lined aesthetic and dwellings that were nestled into the landscape, rather than plonked on top of it.

At Box™, we take many of our design cues from these Case Study homes, built in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Their relaxed style was Kiwi to the core. They featured open-plan layouts, vast curtain walling and oodles of indoor/outdoor flow. Add a backyard barbecue and you’d be set.


Above: An example of one of Eichler’s typical ranch houses, designed in 1957, laying low against the backdrop of the parched hills of San Rafael, California.

Modernism in THE NEW CENTURY

Across the globe in Germany, HUF Haus was a house company making their mark with high-quality kitset homes. In Europe they were the pioneers of a design system in which components were pre-made, and the houses assembled on site. Their modern-look gabled design was based around a self-supporting timber frame. There was one hiccup though: these houses cost a packet.

That’s why we admire San Francisco property developer (yes, property developer) Joseph Eichler. He set up a design-and-build system that brought good-looking modernism to the suburbs at an affordable price.

That’s what Box™ does too. Similar to Huf Haus and Eichler, we use a post-and-beam structural skeleton. This allows the flexibility to create large, open spans in a cost-effective way. It’s a modular system in that we stick to a standardised set of components (many of which can be prefabricated) and a set palette of materials.

And we’ve gathered a group of gurus – an architect, a couple of like-minded builders and some quantity surveyors with sharp pencils – who actually talk to each other, which means we can deliver the magic of modernism with certainty of cost. Win. Win.