Project:

The Huts, Eastbourne

Client:

Eastbourne Borough Council

Contract Sum:

Competition

Description:

Our unique design for a bespoke beach hut for Eastbourne seafront is a musical interpretation of the traditional archetype. Intrigued by a free-standing piano on the concourse of our local train station, we were impressed to see and hear members of the public tinkling the ivories for anyone within earshot. Reluctant to attempt a design based upon the assumption that the beach hut would be primarily used as a storage facility (as they often are), we looked at alternative uses. With memories of the station piano in our minds (and ears), we began to explore the notion of a musical beach hut.

Enthused by the ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ street pianos sited in cities worldwide, and the spontaneous interaction between strangers they facilitate in public spaces, we imagined a beach hut that offers both private space for lessons/practice, and public space for performance and interaction. As such, this beach hut functions when used both by the community (closed) and for the community (open). Just as a piano does, our beach hut opens up to allow its sound out. Conversely, it may also be closed, and locked, when not in-use for security.

Its form is an abstraction of a grand piano, both in plan and in section. Parallel walls were avoided for acoustics. Materials were chosen for a variety of reasons, such as durability (gabions, polycarbonate panels & recycled metal), sustainability (timber, gabions, polycarbonate, roof), acoustics (timber), maintenance (gabions, polycarbonate), and bio-diversity (gabions).

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