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The Cube

About the project

Type of Build: Tiny House New Build

Architect: Firstlight Architects

Complexity Level: Medium

After previously experiencing Korean apartment life, the decision to go small was neither daunting nor unfamiliar for the owners of this highly sustainable and well-thought-out High Street Cube Tiny Home.

Location: Petone

Year: 2019

The Cube Project

Tiny Home, Award Winning Vision

Project Overview

By playfully adopting motifs from its surroundings, the resulting 48m2, the self-contained studio sits naturally (albeit bodly) in context. The rich recycled timber siding gives a rustic, grounded, and tactile quality to the otherwise lofty and geometric form while the custom-crafted cantilevered steel awning recreates the curved nature of the neighbuorhood's villa style housing.


At 36m2, the ground floor works hard to accommodate bathroom, kitchen, living, circulation, and concurrent work-from-home activities, where the owners home-business of private tutoring requires spatial separation from other goings-on from throughout the home, while still allowing greater utilisation, yet separation of space.


Large bi-folding doors open onto a timber deck which, teamed with a sunny lawn, works to extend the cube’s living space physically and perceptually. Clever landscaping, new planting, and a staggered fence line facilitate privacy between the two new ‘backyards’ without shutting the properties off from one another.


Low-maintenance, durable, locally abundant – and for the most part recyclable – materials have been utilised. Oriented for the sun, with an insulated concrete floor, thermally-broken double-glazed joinery and a higher-than-code thermal envelope means the house will maintain a comfortable temperature without much need for active heating or cooling throughout the year. Appliances and lighting fixtures were selected for their low energy consumption. Feature materials are timber; on the interior, untreated pine plywood and the exterior, recycled macrocarpa and cedar stockpiled by the clients over time.

Nestled in a tightly situated section of High Street, access to the site was narrow, requiring a number of creative solutions in order for the Black Sheep Team and sub-trades to get on site to complete their respective portions of the project.


Given the lower-sized footprint of the build comparative to a standard residential home, a requirement to create a time-centric rotation of on-site contractors and manage the logistics of people movement was a primary necessity to ensure that every contractor was able to complete their assigned contributions to the build without hindering access or adding constraint to other parts of the project - often only allowing one subcontractor or builder access at a time due to the size of the dwelling.


Couple the tight access, and the requirement for well-planned logistics, also opened a requirement for significant additional care to be taken by everyone on site while working, with the purposefully sustainable spatial layout increasing the likelihood of onsite damages if too many parts of the project were being completed at the same time. 

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