Luxurious beach hut escapes coastal erosion thanks to built-in sleds
July 24, 2012
Fighting coastal erosion is a little like fighting aging. One can can make endless expensive artificial enhancements, but one day those enhancements will fail, and when they do, things will get ugly. This (largely) natural process can conflict with humanity's unceasing desire to build comfortable houses on top of cliffs and next to beaches, from which to look out at azure/moody* seascapes, sip dayglo cocktails/cups of tea*, and generally escape the hum and drum of city life. (* - Redact according to preference).
If and when erosion chooses to sink its teeth into the mere yards of milky cliff or suntanned dunes between the ocean and your back door, moving house can be the only sensible choice. And while for many that can only mean packing up and heading off for pastures new (or at least inland), for the owners of the Hut on Sleds, it's as simple as remembering where you parked your tractor. The Hut on Sleds, you see, is designed to be moved in the more literal sense.
Architectural outfit Crosson, Clarke, Carnachan designed the Hut on Sleds to directly address the dynamic nature of the New Zealand coast, where the sea is forever jostling beach sand up and down the coastline. While that would prove extremely problematic for a fixed abode very close the shore, for the Hut on Sleds it is merely case of dragging it a few meters along the beach.
Designed to order, the hut was always intended to be "small, simple and functional," a brief that appears to have been admirably met. Clearly not intended as a permanent residence, the Hut on Sleds looks better suited to short breaks.
But though it's called a hut, the moniker does it any injustice. Though only 40 sq m (431 sq ft) in size, the Hut on Sleds sleeps five (albeit very cosily) include a children's room with triple-stacked bunk beds. A roof terrace (accessed by ladder) harvests rainwater, feeding it into storage tanks and, thereafter, faucets and showers. There's even a wood-burning stove for heat.
The modest wooden finish is inspired by more traditional, modest "bach" beach houses native (if building types can be native) to New Zealand. But an enormous shutter almost the entire height and width of the house opens up to reveal a strikingly modern glass-frontage which itself opens up to expose the entire front facade to the sea. Once up, the shutter provides an awning over these doors.
We wonder a little at the effectiveness of the "sleds" themselves. Simply very meaty pieces of timber, one imagines a certain amount of digging would be required if the hut is left in one place for too long, but the fact remains: this may be the mother of all beach huts (though it's not without competition).