Introducing stunning Box Modern home design

If there’s one modern look that can spark the imagination, it’s Box Modern. Its simple boxy shape inspires huge creativity by offering endless options for design and expression. In this article, architect Joe Snell helps us break down the key features of this popular look, and how to individualise the design.

box-modern-joe-snell-modernhomes (1)

Let’s explore:

  • Key design defining Box Modern facades

  • Expressions of Box Modern facades

  • How to learn more

A style overview of Box Modern design

Box modern is best summarised as controlled, precise, clearly contemporary architecture. It’s characterised by the arrangement and treatment of distinct boxes, elevating the simple shape into an elegant evolution of modernist design principles.

Architect Joe Snell explains, “it's one of those names that sounds exactly as it is. It’s a modern form of architecture, which when you look at the building, it is made up of a series of boxes. It’s about presenting box forms and then layering them.”

Crucially, it can be both grandiose, with multiple boxes on top of boxes, or more humble in approach.

One of the key features of Box Modern home design is the focus on generous , strong geometric shapes to create a visually unique exterior.You have an opportunity to push and pull the elevations or facades of those boxes back and forth,” says Joe Snell. “You can layer them up and down, and bring different materialities to each box or texture or colour. There’s a lot of opportunity within the scope of Box Modern.”

axon-cladding-axent-trim-exterio (1)

Key elements of Box Modern house design

Box Modern homes incorporate minimalist principles and showcase architectural details such as shape, roofline, and cladding, often featuring contrasting colours and bold materials. The result is visually exciting and dynamic. Let’s explore standout features:

Hidden roof line: “It’s a boxy look that involves a parapet. Hidden behind that parapet is a sloped roof, but you don't see those diagonal shapes,” explains Joe Snell.

Windows: “Often aluminium windows at the facade line of the box without ornamentation or add-ons: it’s quite pared back,” says Joe.

Doors: An oversized front door with stacked rectangular glass panels mimics the geometric shape of the house and lets natural light into the home. If space allows, a double door adds to the bold, grand design

Balconies: “Balconies are set in; you can have recesses within the box where things are set in, but when you look at the building, that recess doesn't overtake the overall box look. The box form has to dominate,” says Joe Snell.


A huge part of the appeal of Box Modern is the unique design expressions available.

The Tiny Box is a diminutive style with efficiency and sustainability at its core, characterised as modular forms with flat or shed roofs, light and height is also a defining feature of the style.

Popular on inner-city blocks as a knockdown-rebuild solution, the inner-city box works to maximise interior space on smaller frontages without compromising on privacy. It is also a popular solution to side-by-side subdivisions in the inner-city.

The Drummoyne Project is an example of the Inner City Box expression, demonstrating how a spacious home can be delivered with a minimalist Box Modern look on a small plot.


Tiny Box is another bold expression. A diminutive style with efficiency and sustainability at its core, it is characterised as modular forms with flat or shed roofs, light and height. BuildHer Collective’s Rathmine's Project embodies this: its textural and tonal materiality highlights its boxy expression.


Box Modern Coastal is yet another expression, seamlessly blending the clean lines and simplicity of Box Modern design with the natural-look materials and laid-back vibe of modern coastal style, like in this stunning example by AK Building Design.


Romulus by Pacifik Design Studio is a breathtaking showcase of grandiose Box Modern expression, featuring both Matrix™ Cladding and Axon™ Cladding from the Hardie™ Architectural Collection.


How to learn more

Bold, precise and contemporary, the Box Modern style is characterised by large blocks or cube-shaped volumes that are stacked, intersecting, or arranged to form compelling, contemporary residences. If you love this style and are keen to learn more, download the Box Modern Design Handbook.

Inside the Handbook, discover cladding solutions and inspiration, how to use complementary and contrasting materials and textures, winning colour palettes and combinations, as well as how to complete the look.

If you’re ready to take the next step and learn more about Box Modern home design, download our Box Modern Design Handbook.

Other articles in Get Planning

Back to top