CABANΞ

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The Coromandel Peninsula on the North Island of New Zealand extends 85 kilometres into the Pacific Ocean. White sandy beaches, steep rocks, turquoise water and subtropical rainforest make this area a leisure paradise. Yet the peninsula is too sparsely populated, which is surprising when one considers its natural beauty and its proximity to Auckland, the largest city in the country. The beach where this small hut stands is situated in an official erosion zone. This accounts for the planning authority’s requirement that it should be in a removable form of construction. The architects, therefore, proposed a structure that could be moved on two wooden runners and drawn by a tractor to safer ground if necessary. Buried in the rear part of the site are a rainwater tank and a small, biodegradable septic tank. Electricity and drinking water are provided by the national supply system, and if the hut is moved, the service connections have to be relaid. Rainwater collected in the galvanized steel barrels on the roof is used for the shower and WC. The barrels also act as superimposed loads on the building, which has a structure of various sustainably sourced timbers. This helps the hut to withstand the strong storms experienced on the Pacific coast. A similar purpose is served by the huge folding shutter in front of the two-storey glazed north-east face. The shutter is opened and closed by a crank wheel, and in a raised position, it forms a canopy over the large areas of glass, through which sunlight penetrates far into the interior in winter. When the doors are open, internal and external space merge to form a continuum, and the room, only 40 m2 in size, extends out to the beach. In this way, the breadth of the sea can be fully experienced by the residents – a family with three children.

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