A Family of Five Lives Sustainably in This Tiny, Mobile Beach Hut
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A Family of Five Lives Sustainably in This Tiny, Mobile Beach Hut

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By Kathryn M.
Two thick, wooden sleds allow this 430-square-foot beach hut to be relocated along the white sands of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula.

Placed on the dunes of New Zealand’s idyllic Coromandel Peninsula, Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects makes the most of its 430 square feet. Despite its petite stature, the timber-clad cabin is a relaxing retreat for a family of five, framing picturesque beach views. 

Perched quietly on the dunes of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, Hut on Sleds serves as a small, sustainable beach retreat for a family of five.

Perched quietly on the dunes of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, Hut on Sleds serves as a small, sustainable beach retreat for a family of five.

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Given that the Coromandel beach site lies within a coastal erosion zone where all buildings must be removable, the New Zealand–based architects have designed the home to rest on two thick wooden sleds, which allows for easy movement—whether it be back inland or across the beach and onto a barge.

Guarding against coastal erosion, the 430-square-foot retreat rests on two thick wooden sleds which allow the structure to be readily relocated when needed.

Guarding against coastal erosion, the 430-square-foot retreat rests on two thick wooden sleds which allow the structure to be readily relocated when needed.

With a brief from the clients requesting a small, simple, and functional design, the team have created the home to enable the family to explore the real essence of holiday living. "The normal rituals of daily life—cooking, dining, sleeping, and showering—are all connected to the outside," explains the firm. "Within, every available space is used: there are even secret cubby holes in the children's bunks."

The rough macrocarpa cladding helps blend the home into its surrounding landscape, while also protecting it from its ever-changing environment. 

The rough macrocarpa cladding helps blend the home into its surrounding landscape, while also protecting it from its ever-changing environment. 

In addition to revealing breathtaking views when opened, the two-story shutter on the front facade also forms an awning, shading the interior from summer sun.

In addition to revealing breathtaking views when opened, the two-story shutter on the front facade also forms an awning, shading the interior from summer sun.

A large, two-story shutter on the front facade opens up to reveal double-height, steel-framed glass doors, which instantly creates an intimate indoor/outdoor connection with spectacular seaside views.

Double-height, steel-framed glass doors connect the entire home to its beachfront setting.

Double-height, steel-framed glass doors connect the entire home to its beachfront setting.

When not in use, the holiday retreat can be completely closed up, protecting the structure against the elements. The home’s rough macrocarpa cladding blends harmoniously into the landscape.

"A small volume at the rear is clad in contrasting 'flat sheet,' a cheap building material found in many traditional holiday homes," explains the firm.

"A small volume at the rear is clad in contrasting 'flat sheet,' a cheap building material found in many traditional holiday homes," explains the firm.

Keeping sustainability in mind, the architects have cladded the structure's interior with timber.

Keeping sustainability in mind, the architects have cladded the structure's interior with timber.

The building's modest size and primary use of timber cladding embodies the client's desire for sustainability.  "Apart from food delivery and non-recyclable waste removal, the hut functions as a self-sustaining organism with rain-catchment tanks, a worm-tank waste system, and separate potable and gray-water tanks," describes the firm. 

A small wood deck is attached to the front facade, extending the living space to the outdoors. 

A small wood deck is attached to the front facade, extending the living space to the outdoors. 

A ladder incorporated in the mezzanine bedroom leads to a spacious roof terrace.

A ladder incorporated in the mezzanine bedroom leads to a spacious roof terrace.

Fittings and mechanics are left exposed inside the home, enhancing its simplistic aesthetic. 

Fittings and mechanics are left exposed inside the home, enhancing its simplistic aesthetic. 

Within the hut, the architects have utilized every inch of available space, including incorporating secret cubby holes into the children's bunkbeds. 

Within the hut, the architects have utilized every inch of available space, including incorporating secret cubby holes into the children's bunkbeds. 

A peek at the rooftop terrace. Here, rainwater is collected for the gravity tanks behind.

A peek at the rooftop terrace. Here, rainwater is collected for the gravity tanks behind.

"The hut is a series of simple design moves," says the firm. "The form is reminiscent of a surf lifesaving or observation tower."

"The hut is a series of simple design moves," says the firm. "The form is reminiscent of a surf lifesaving or observation tower."

Related Reading: 10 Breezy Bachs That’ll Have You Running to the Beach

Project Credits: 

Architects: Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

Contractor: D.F. Wight Builders Ltd.

Engineering: CMR Engineers Ltd.

Photographer: Simon Devitt / @simon_devitt