Good affordable architectural design

Piha Exterior Artis Home

Architectural design has always been an intricate dance between artistry and practicality, where form meets function to create spaces that delight the senses while fulfilling the basic needs of those who live in them.

However, what makes architectural design ‘affordable’ – do we mean the initial cost of building the house or the cost of the house over 10, 25 or even 100 years. And do we extrapolate to include environmental costs of building, maintaining, heating, cooling and powering?

The Vitruvian principles, attributed to the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius, emphasise the core tenets of architectural excellence. Beauty pertains to the aesthetic appeal of a design, utility relates to its functionality and efficiency, and durability concerns the longevity and resilience of the structure. When applied thoughtfully, these principles guide architects in crafting spaces that are both delightful and practical.

Bell Drone Exterior Artis Home
Nestled on the side of a hill
Piha Bathroom With Sea View
Capture those peak views!

The issue is that despite general agreement on the importance of creating a healthy, well-designed living environment, everyone is in search of an instant quick fix to the initial cost of building. We see this in the appearance of different materials and construction techniques – from steel framing to off-site manufacturing. It is also a tightrope between creating beautiful spaces and building cost-effectiveness. Everyone will draw the line between the two in a slightly different place.

Affordability is a crucial consideration in architectural design, as it ensures that good design is accessible to a broader range of people. This requires the architect to find innovative ways to optimise resources and costs without compromising on the quality of the final product. One effective approach is the integration of modular elements in the design.

Modular design or the use of ‘patterns’, involves creating standardised components that can be easily replicated and assembled in various configurations. By adopting modular elements, architects can streamline the design process (and make it cheaper) and reduce construction costs. The inherent repeatability of modular design allows for economies of scale, making it an attractive choice for affordable projects. Artis has designed a modular design system that makes it easier to design a house within certain constraints, whilst knowing that the spaces ‘work’.

Affordability is both ‘Instant’ and ‘On-going’

Furthermore, modular design facilitates a more efficient construction process, as a variety of pre-designed components can be quickly assembled on-site. This not only saves time but also reduces labour costs, contributing to overall affordability.

Incorporating larger pre-manufactured components is another strategy for cost reduction and faster construction. These components, such as prefabricated walls, floors or roof trusses, can be produced off-site in a controlled environment, ensuring higher precision and quality. When brought to the construction site, they significantly shorten the building process, leading to cost savings.

However, while modular elements and pre-manufactured components can enhance affordability, the role of the architect remains pivotal. Architecture is more than a collection of standardised parts; it is an art that seeks to elevate the human experience through thoughtful design. This is key to Artis’ belief that striving for the most cost-effective solution must be balanced by the quality of design.

Hele Living Room Artis Home
Simple and effective use of materials

An architect’s expertise lies in capturing the essence of a site and its surroundings. Factors like natural light, topography, and prevailing winds are skillfully considered to optimise the design for energy efficiency and comfort. The architect’s keen eye identifies opportunities to create “moments of joy” within the space, where inhabitants can experience a profound sense of delight and connection with their environment. These moments of joy might come from strategically placed windows that frame stunning vistas, light-wells in showers or window seats. The architect’s creative vision brings uniqueness and character to each project, ensuring that the resulting structure becomes more than just a house, but a home where people feel truly at ease and inspired.

To sum it all up, Artis defines good affordable architectural design as a harmonious balance between the Vitruvian principles of beauty, utility, durability but also cost. The integration of modular elements and pre-manufactured components helps reduce both design and build costs, while accelerating the construction process. However, the crucial role of the architect in capturing the essence of the site, harnessing natural light, and creating moments of joy is irreplaceable.

The architect's keen eye identifies opportunities to create "moments of joy" within the space, where inhabitants can experience a profound sense of delight and connection with their environment.