After 10 years of exploring and refining the modhouse design through sketches and model making, architect John McNamara formed modhouse as a company in 2017 and began to construct the first modhouse as a showhome in Hawkes Bay. A big move when you have lived in Auckland for 50 years and raised a family there.

In those 10 years the construction industry had changed to better incorporate offsite and prefabricated technology and the engineered timber market sector really started to strongly emerge as a game changer, all of which fully aligned with modhouse ideology. 

With John having been strongly sympathetic to the “logs for jobs” credo the timing felt right to create the first of a series of engineered timber framed houses.


With the modhouse plan being “modular”, there is an infinite variety of ways the house can be configured both in terms of the plan layouts and the materiality, so we are excited to begin working with clients who share both our love of NZ wood in all its abundance and our passion for architecture and design to create beautiful homes.


Further Reading

Architect and modhouse owner John McNamara returned to New Zealand from his OE in 1995 and worked on residential houses for several years with 2 of NZs leading architectural practices before moving into large scale commercial projects for over 20 years in Auckland and the Pacific rim.

John’s interests started to extend as the industry began to take on board offsite construction and the opportunity arose to purchase a site in Hawkes Bay for the showhome. Better still the site was part of a Hastings District Council master-planned sub-division with an ambitious ESD outcome (Environmentally Sustainable Design is the philosophy of designing the built environment and services to comply with the principles of ecological sustainability and achieving a Homestar 6 rating).

Fortuitously this again tied in very well with the modhouse ethos which had always centred around a sustainable approach to the built environment. The showhome site was purchased in October 2017 and settled in early 2018 after approval from Hawkes Bay District Council to do something a little different to the other houses in the sub-division.

Because modhouse is modular and had already been designed over a 10-year period, we could simply move the modular elements of the plan around to suit the site, orientation to north, window and door placement which enabled us to move fast and we were quickly celebrating obtaining building consent in July 2018.