Design comfortable, sustainable visitor huts for the Abu Dhabi protected nature reserve
Small huts are vital in many different environments and landscapes, whether they were constructed for storage, rest stops, or tourist attractions, and great design isn’t limited to large scale buildings. Even the simplest structure can create a big impact.
The Jak Studio Spy Glass structure is inspired by beach viewing binoculars. Image source
Inspired by the viewing binoculars that are a traditional part of beachtown scenery in the UK, JaK Studio’s Spy Glass structure was one of five winning designs from a recent architecture competition. The beach hut was built along the Eastbourne Pier as part of an initiative to revitalise the coastal town in the South-East region of England.
Designed by London-based architectural practice and consultancy JaK Studio, Spy Glass celebrates the classic beach hut that is very much a part of British beach town culture. JaK Studio founding partner Jacob Low, says:
“We wanted to pay homage to the traditional beach hut while creating a modern concept for a design classic.”
The Huts initiative was launched by Eastbourne Borough Council in 2015, and asked designers and architectural practices to submit designs for bespoke beach huts to be installed along the beachfront in the Devonshire Ward area of Eastbourne.
This affordable beach hut was constructed after placing second in an architecture competition. Image source
Another winning entry of the Eastbourne architecture design competition was this large faceted hut structure made with a timber structure clad with translucent Corian Panels. Located between the boardwalk and the beach, the hut was designed according to an open brief and a very limited budget.
The competition brief called for designs to be adaptable and offering a variety of different uses for the structure, allowing the local council to rent it out to private individuals as either a beach hut or a public shelter. It was recently used as a media hub for the annual airshow, Airbourne.
An innovative system of structural notes was developed in order to simplify the triangulated timber structure so as to build the structure on a tight budget.
“Each bespoke node is made by connecting aluminium rods to simple 3D printed or aluminium hemispheres using Digital Fabrication Tools. The 3D model exports coordinates for each hemisphere which are screwed together to form a lightweight structural dome which braces the timber structure supporting the cladding.”
The Berliner Hütte was constructed in 1879 and provided the first telephone line to the region. Image source
Beaches aren’t the only location where hut architecture is popular, and while many people would imagine a mountain hut as little more than a wooden shack, there are some incredible alpine huts that are even listed as historical monuments.
A perfect example of this is the Berlin Hut in Austria which was inaugurated in 1879. Its design was ahead of its time, built with electricity from its own hydroelectric power station and the very first telephone line in Upper Zillertal. It even had its own post office and cobbler’s workshop.
Shaped like an eggshell, Stüdlhütte uses solar power and had a sustainable construction. Image source
Stüdlhütte was opened in 1996 and was named after the Prague merchant Johann Stüdl who commissioned the previous iteration of the hut, built back in the 19th century. This modern reimagining of the Stüdl Hut, shaped like an eggshell, made a conscious effort to avoid the use of fossil fuels. In addition to its sustainable construction, the hut receives heat and energy from its exposed south side, being powered by a solar system and with its heating fuelled by vegetable oil.
The Pavilosta Poet Huts competition is tasking architecture enthusiasts with creating an inviting retreat within the quaint fishing village on the western coast of Latvia. Already a popular European tourist destination, Pavilosta is known for its long sandy beach and idyllic Baltic Sea waters.
In addition to designing the “Poet Huts” for the artists in residence, participants are being asked to design a multifunctional space to facilitate small exhibitions, presentations and group gatherings, as well as permanent accommodation for the host family.