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Hut on Sleds

Hut on sleds by architects Crosson Clarke Carnachan can be towed off the beach and out of harm’s way. Located within a designated erosion zone on the Coromandel Peninsula, the house was designed as a mobile structure to satisfy a planning condition requiring that all buildings in the area be removable.

Hut-on-Sleds-By-Crosson-Clarke-Carnachan-Architects-02-800x1200 Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

© Jackie Meiring

This modern version of a traditional seaside hut sits on the edge of a beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, on New Zealand’s North Island. As the site lies within a coastal erosion zone, all buildings and structures must be removable. The house/hut sits on a pair of thick timber sleds to enable it to be towed back up the site or across the beach.

The simple form and raw materials recall beachside artefacts such as a lifeguard observation tower or fishing hut. Mechanisms and fittings are unapologetically industrial, the structure gutsy and exposed. The holiday retreat, which can accommodate a family of five, is like a large cabinet, designed to close up against the elements when not in use. When shuttered, the rough macrocarpa cladding blends into the landscape.

Hut-on-Sleds-By-Crosson-Clarke-Carnachan-Architects-03-759x514 Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

© Jackie Meiring

The rear is clad in ‘flat sheet’, a cheap metal cladding used in local holiday homes. a double-height shutter winches up like a concertina to form an awning, shading the efficiently planned interior. The jury liked the project’s modesty, economy and response to context.

The holiday retreat is designed to close up against the elements when not in use, and measures a mere 40 square meters. It accommodates a family of five in a kitchen/dining/living area, a bathroom and two sleeping zones, the children’s accommodating a three tiered bunk.

Hut-on-Sleds-By-Crosson-Clarke-Carnachan-Architects-07-800x1200 Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

© Jackie Meiring

Closed up, the rough macrocarpa cladding blends into the landscape and perches unobtrusively on the dunes. The two storey timber shutter on the front facade winches open to form an awning, shading the interior from summer sun while allowing winter sun to enter. It reveals double height steel framed glass doors that open much like the tent flap, connecting the living and the ladder accessed mezzanine bedroom to the extraordinary view. Within, the interior is the epitome of efficiency, every available space is utilised from the Pinus Radiata cabinetry to secret cubby holes within the children’s bunks.

The hut is totally sustainable from its modest size to the use of timber in its cladding, structure, lining and joinery and from its worm tank waste system to the separate potable grey water tanks. This is a new way of looking at holiday living in this sensitive dune environment.

Hut-on-Sleds-By-Crosson-Clarke-Carnachan-Architects-08-800x1200 Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

© Jackie Meiring

Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects:

On the shore of an idyllic white sandy beach on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula rests an elegant hut. The site lies within the coastal erosion zone, where all building must be removable. This is taken literally and the hut is designed on two thick wooden sleds for movement back up the site or across the beach and onto a barge.

Hut-on-Sleds-By-Crosson-Clarke-Carnachan-Architects-10-800x1200 Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

© Jackie Meiring

The hut is a series of simple design moves. The aesthetic is natural and reminiscent of a beach artifact/perhaps a surf-life-saving or observation tower.The fittings and mechanics are industrial and obvious, the structure is gutsy and exposed.

The holiday retreat is designed to close up against the elements when not in use, and measures a mere 40 square meters. It accommodates a family of five in a kitchen/dining/living area, a bathroom and two sleeping zones, the children’s accommodating a three tiered bunk. Closed up, the rough macrocarpa cladding blends into the landscape and perches unobtrusively on the dunes. The rear being clad in “flat sheet” a cheap building material found in many traditional New Zealand holiday homes.

Hut-on-Sleds-By-Crosson-Clarke-Carnachan-Architects-11-759x511 Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

© Jackie Meiring

These clients sought to explore the real essence of holiday living; small, simple, functional. The normal rituals of daily life; cooking dining, sleeping and showering all being done connected to the outside. The two storey shutter on the front facade winches open to form an awning, shading the interior from summer sun while allowing winter sun to enter. It reveals a double height steel framed glass doors that open the interior much like the tent flap, connecting the living and the ladder accessed mezzanine bedroom to the extraordinary view.

Within, the interior is the epitome of efficiency, every available space is utilised from cabinetry toe spaces to secret cubby holes within the children’s bunks. The hut is totally sustainable from its modest size to the use of timber in its cladding, structure, lining and joinery and from its worm tank waste system to the separate potable grey water tanks. This is a new way of looking at holiday living in this sensitive dune environment.

Hut-on-Sleds-By-Crosson-Clarke-Carnachan-Architects-12-800x1200 Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

© Jackie Meiring

An interview with Crosson Clarke Carnachan about their beach hut attached to sled rollers:

What were the limitations and challenges of the project?

  • The biggest challenge for the project was that it’s in what’s termed the ‘coastal erosion zone’ and so needed to be demountable. We took this to mean moveable. The project was also a challenge in terms of size. What was the minimum living area a family five actually needed, while providing interest and engagement with the site? It was to be sustainable and eco-friendly at the same time.

We absolutely love the fact that the structural form itself, apart from being transportable, can shift via the use of different folding-out elements. Is this something you carry through different architectural works, or would like to see used more generally?

  • Yes we are interested in the transition-space between inside and outside and the use of moveable screens, shutters, doors, windows etc, and how we manipulate that experience of going from inside to outside.
Hut-on-Sleds-By-Crosson-Clarke-Carnachan-Architects-13-800x1200 Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

© Jackie Meiring

How did you choose the materials – was it important that the structure blend in with its location?

  • It was important that the structure “talks” to its location. We wanted it to be seen as an appropriate built artifact in the coastal environment, perhaps like a surf lifesaving tower. The materials were chosen because of the history in the context of New Zealand baches, and we chose materials that were eco-friendly, cost effective and found in other holiday houses in the area.

What are the climate and associated light considerations? And how is it heated, and where does the electricity/power-source come from?

  • The house is largely passively heated and cooled. Large areas of north-facing glazing trap the winter sun, while the raised front screen protects it from summer sun. A small wood burning oven/fire is used for winter heating. The house is connected to the national power grid.
Hut-on-Sleds-By-Crosson-Clarke-Carnachan-Architects-17-759x505 Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

© Jackie Meiring

Project Data:

Project name: Hut on Sleds
Location: Whangapoua, New Zealand
Coordinates: n/a
Type:

  • Type By Characteristic: Cabin / Hut / Cottage, Holiday House, Green & Sustainable House
  • Type By Site: Beach House
  • Type By Size: Tiny House – (less than 51 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Wooden House

Storeys: 2
Project Area: 48.8 sqm
Status: Completed
Project Year: 2011
Completion Year: 2012

Awards:

  • 2012 – World Architecture Festival Award – Category Villa – Shortlisted
  • 2011 – The Architectural Review (AR+D Awards) – AR House Awards – Commended

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects, L1, 15 Bath Street, PO Box 37-521, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand
Structural Engineer: Chris Rose – C.M.R. Engineers
Contractor: D.F. Wight Builders Ltd
Environmental Engineer: Paula Hugens – Green Being Consulting Engineers
Kitchen: Customtone Kitchens
Door closers: Dorma
Text Description: © Courtesy of Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects, .architectural-review, WAN
Images: © Jackie Meiring

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Hut on Sleds / Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects
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