When less is so much more

When less is so much more add

As the metamorphosis of Christchurch's commercial landscape continues with gusto, talented architectural designers like Mitchell Coll of Coll Architecture are helping the CBD's residential sector to keep pace, introducing extraordinary designs that showcase and celebrate Kiwi ingenuity.

The contribution Coll has made to enriching residential architecture is so significant, he is the Supreme Award winner in the 2017 ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards for his two workingman's cottages on Madras Street. He is also the recipient of the Residential Multi-Unit Dwelling Architectural Design Award and Residential Interiors Architectural Design Award.

Coll's innate ability to find opportunity in challenge subsequently translated into two 74m2 cottages that lightly touch the 300m2 central city land they are situated on. Governed by the principles of energy efficiency, sustainability and durability, Coll returned to basics for the build with a result that was anything but.

Reminiscent of 'Christchurch school' houses, a simplistic yet striking synergy was achieved for the dwellings by pairing a no-maintenance-required material - corteen steel - with cross laminated timber for floors and ceilings. Flush-fitted LED strip lighting, robust and compact laminate impregnated with silver for the custom designed kitchens, and a compelling introduction of Resene colour that contrasts with the natural timber tones, all honour the minimalist aesthetic while rising magnificently to the opportunity to demonstrate that less can absolutely be more.

Made with young professionals in mind, the cottages benefit from intelligent and inspiring design - the kind that ensures the practicalities in place delight the senses as well as serve a purpose.

This was achieved by introducing thoughtful, attractive accents to utilitarian spaces. For example, the application of tiles to all surfaces in the shower not only pays tribute to the 'New Denim Blue' from the exterior steel, creating clever continuity, but also adds to the overall ambience of the 'spa' style bathroom. Extra touches, including a plant and a timber shower seat and flooring, enrich the luxurious feel of the space in a way that doesn't betray the down-to-earth aesthetic.

Of the evident attention to detail and seamless fluidity between the indoor and outdoor design, the judges said, "This project has a clear conceptual intent which is carried through successfully from the overall concept right through to the smallest details".

ADNZ CEO Astrid Andersen spoke of her admiration for an award-winning project that embraces the smaller, smarter, sustainable living philosophy. "It is very exciting that the Supreme winner is just 74m2. This win is game-changing for the industry and opens the door for New Zealand to lead the way in multi-unit compact home design.

"It also represents a growing trend, as more New Zealanders experience the benefits of compact city living. We are thrilled to see such an exceptional example of compact multi-unit home design associated with ADNZ and leading a change in New Zealand home design."