Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke
Carnachan Architects

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As the tides erode the northern coast of New Zealand, this house on a sled by architects Crosson Clarke Carnachan can be towed off the beach and out of harm's way (+ slideshow).

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

Located within a designated erosion zone on the Coromandel Peninsula, the house was designed as a mobile structure to satisfy a planning condition requiring that all buildings in the area be removable.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

A huge shutter folds up across the exterior to reveal and shade a two-storey glazed facade, which has an open-plan living room and mezzanine bedroom behind.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

More shutters lift up to uncover windows on each side of the house, and a roof deck is hidden behind the parapet walls.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

A family of five use the hut as a holiday home and the three children sleep in a three-tiered bunk bed in the back room.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects also recently completed a charred wooden cabin - take a look at it here.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

Surprisingly this isn't the first building on a sled we've featured. The first was a sauna on a Finnish island.

Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

See all our stories about mobile architecture »

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

Photography is by Jackie Meiring.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

Here's a description from Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects:


On the shore of an idyllic white sandy beach on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula rests an elegant hut. The site lies within the coastal erosion zone, where all building must be removable. This is taken literally and the hut is designed on two thick wooden sleds for movement back up the site or across the beach and onto a barge.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

The hut is a series of simple design moves. The aesthetic is natural and reminiscent of a beach artifact/perhaps a surf-life-saving or observation tower. The fittings and mechanics are industrial and obvious, the structure is gutsy and exposed.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

The holiday retreat is designed to close up against the elements when not in use, and measures a mere 40 square meters. It accommodates a family of five in a kitchen/dining/living area, a bathroom and two sleeping zones, the children's accommodating a three tiered bunk.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

Closed up, the rough macrocarpa cladding blends into the landscape and perches unobtrusively on the dunes. The rear being clad in "flat sheet" a cheap building material found in many traditional New Zealand holiday homes.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

These clients sought to explore the real essence of holiday living; small, simple, functional. The normal rituals of daily life; cooking dining, sleeping and showering all being done connected to the outside.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

The two storey shutter on the front facade winches open to form an awning, shading the interior from summer sun while allowing winter sun to enter. It reveals a double height steel framed glass doors that open the interior much like the tent flap, connecting the living and the ladder accessed mezzanine bedroom to the extraordinary view.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

Within, the interior is the epitome of efficiency, every available space is utilised from cabinetry toe spaces to secret cubby holes within the children's bunks.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

The hut is totally sustainable from its modest size to the use of timber in its cladding, structure, lining and joinery and from its worm tank waste system to the separate portable grey water tanks. This is a new way of looking at holiday living in this sensitive dune environment.

Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects

Engineering: CMR Engineers Ltd
Contractor: D.F. Wight Builders Ltd
Completed: 2011
Area: 48.8m2

  • mrswoo

    Do the three children sit on the floor and does everyone eat off their knees?

    • Mario

      Oh come on MrsWoo, don't understand the romantic and intimate character of camping?!

      • http://twitter.com/ArchitectsCCCA @ArchitectsCCCA

        Too right Mario! However we have since designed the family a custom built table and chairs so I'm afraid there isn't much eating off knees anymore – CCCA

  • http://gavinckirby.me/ Gavin.C.Kirby

    There's some wonderful attention to detail going on here, both visually and in terms of functionality. A really very intelligent design, and one making clever use of the local planning requirements.

    Personally, and it is a personal thing, but I would've liked to have seen more finishes, textures with the interior wood, as a counterbalance to the more rustic, natural, weathered finish of the exterior.

    I have to say, I don't think that the rear is particularly well resolved, lacking the clever design of the main building, and dare I say it, looking rather more Portakabin (though given it's context, it's probably rather apt actually), and because of this it feels like the building is lacking an overall coherency. Which is a shame.

    That said, it really has that wonderful mid-century modern feel that The Hamptons had, before it was infected by those newly minted 1980's folk, with lots of money, little taste and a penchant for the ghastly.

  • http://www.clearscapes.com jnz

    The old cottages on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, USA were typically moved from Sound- to Ocean-side and back again with the seasons. A tremendous feat given that trip was about 1/2 mile one way and the houses didn’t have a built-in mobile/sled aesthetic. No indoor plumbing either… but I digress….

  • Victor

    Design: A+
    Nice design and the operable enclosure when not in use is clever.

    Mobility: D-
    It is hard to believe that this little tractor could drag this load one inch let alone 100s of feet across sand – a material that likes to stymie movement. In the past I was a caretaker for a property and I tried to drag a small one story 8 ft x10 ft wood shed on grass with a tractor larger than this and the tractor almost flipped just before the engine quit. Wood is heavy stuff even with rails. A movie would have been nice to prove your primary claim for this unique design.

  • http://twitter.com/RyanTee82 @RyanTee82

    It’s gorgeous, but why is the tractor photoshopped into the picture?