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​​Beach Hut Sandilands

by Jonathan Hendry Architects

Client Tim Spring
Awards RIBA East Midlands Award 2017, RIBA East Midlands Small Project of the Year 2017

© Anete Lusina

At the eastern extremity of the East Midlands lies the small seaside town of Sutton-on-Sea, where a private beach cabin has become a public landmark. From an unpromising brief, starting with the reuse of a redundant concrete toilet block, the architect has created a real architectural gem which belies its tiny size and £30,000 budget. A timber structure was constructed on top of the toilets, which now serve as a storage plinth, lifting the hut skywards.

The beach hut first manifests itself as a miniature boxy tower, peeping over the foliage as you arrive at the seafront. The raised rear elevation is devoid of scale references which give it a somewhat mysterious quality. A clever manipulation of scale makes it difficult to read the beach hut’s true size, so that from certain angles it seems huge, dominating its site at the end of the promenade.

The structure may be tiny but it boldly ‘nods’ across the North Sea to Scandinavia, with its Nordic-red paint job. This vibrant colour scheme compliments the jolly colours of the more conventional neighbouring beach huts and even the simple wooden steps have been imaginatively specified with a driftwood grey protective coating. The view eastwards towards the sea is maximised with an extremely clever low-budget lightweight polycarbonate glazed wall, which simply hinges down to convert into a balcony for open-air living. Internally, all surfaces are simply lined with a plywood finish, while quirky touches such as the metal light fittings and wetsuit drying loft further add to its character.

The client (who hails from the locality) has shown great bravery with this commission, in the face of local opposition, as well as a low-level threat of arson and graffiti. At dusk its North West façade of translucent polycarbonate transforms the building into a magic lantern-cum-lighthouse. An uplifting inhabited artwork has been created in the most unlikely location, which we are confident will be appearing on postcards soon! The achievement of so much delight on a budget of £30,000 also earned the Beach Hut the RIBA East Midlands 2017 Small Project of the Year Award.

Contractor J.H.A Winter & Son
Structural Engineers Shane Harper
Internal area 17 m²

© Anete Lusina
© Anete Lusina
© Jonathan Hendry
© Jonathan Hendry
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