Inspired by Danish summerhouse culture, the brief was to design a small family beach house on a very restricted site. The chalet was to be in keeping with the local vernacular and sleep a family of four, with a generous communal area for hosting family and friends, with seating for 20 people inside and outside and plenty of space for play.
We started with a huge window through which to watch the waves, creating a sense of space inside the structure, which was made on-site by a local builder and has a footprint of just 35m2. At high tide, the waves come right up to the front deck, so the Beach House is raised off the beach on galvanised steel stilts.
The sea view is the focus of a simple living space, which includes a woodburning stove, a dining table, stacking stools and a mode ststainless steel-fronted kitchen. The large living space and flexible furnishings mean there is plenty of space for playing together and hosting friends and family.
Behind the kitchen are bunk beds for children and a separate bathroom – the only space to deviate from the seamless wood interior in bright orange. A lowered floor takes advantage of the sloping site to create space for a mezzanine above, which acts as a cosy sleeping platform with two double matrasses, paired with a bedside table made from wooden offcuts as part of the Pallet Project. A long horizontal window provides views over the countryside behind.
The interior is entirely clad in sawn softwood creating a sense of continuity, while the outside is seamlessly clad with cedar shingles which are require no maintenance and withstand the coastal weather.
Called a ‘handsome addition’ to the Whitstable beach front by Gessato, the Beach House was featured in Rebecca Roke’s book Nanotecture: Tiny Built Things (Phaidon) about small-scale architecture.
Images © Ben Anders