Sussex

Beach huts re-imagined for Eastbourne seafront

Spyglass Jak Image copyright Beach Huts Eastbourne
Image caption Jak Studio, based in London and Sarajevo, was among the winners with its Spyglass design

A group of students with learning difficulties are among the winners of a contest to re-imagine that most British of seaside traditions - the beach hut.

The design by eight young adults from Sussex Downs College will be built on Eastbourne seafront, with four others by architects from around the world.

The competition attracted 50 entries, with the winners chosen by public vote and a panel of judges.

One judge said the structures were "unique and eclectic".

Image copyright Avant Photographic
Image caption Students from Sussex Downs College created their design during ceramics lessons

The Sussex Downs students worked on their design, inspired by happy times at the beach, during ceramics classes led by artist Sheila Hay.

"The idea for the hut is that it is all clad in ceramic tiles, some of which will be made by the students themselves," said Ms Hay.

"I am absolutely thrilled they have won.

"To win along with international architects is fantastic - I don't know if they will appreciate the significance of that but they do know about being winners or losers."

The students' entry won the community category in The Huts Eastbourne competition.

Four entries from professional architects will also be built on sites to the east of Eastbourne Pier, alongside attractions such as the Redoubt Museum.

Image copyright The Huts Eastbourne
Image caption The Star Gazers cabin by George King Architects is covered with diagrams of the solar system and will be sited on the seafront
Image copyright The Huts Eastbourne
Image caption One winner in the professional category - What Unearthed? - was designed by Dublin-based SFA
Image copyright Beach Huts Eastbourne
Image caption RIBA Award-winning architects Calder Peel's Eastbourne Reborn entry will be one of those built on the seafront

The new beach huts are part of the regeneration of the Devonshire area, which includes £40m of improvements to Devonshire Park Lawn Tennis Club and the Congress Theatre.

The council currently has 87 huts and 69 brick-built chalets, all west of the pier, and is planning to install another 20 traditional beach huts in the new location.

Some of the winning 64 sq ft (6 sq m) designs will be used for beachfront kiosks, while others will be rented out to beach-goers.

Large beach huts operated by the council are let for £800 per year, while the brick-built chalets cost nearly £3,000 for residents.

Sculptor Alex Chinneck, whose work includes projects at London's Covent Garden Piazza and the London Design Festival 2015, was on the judging panel.

"These unique and eclectic structures are full of personality and will adorn the seafront with sculpturally interesting moments that contribute to Eastbourne's individuality," he said.

"British beach huts are full of charm and happy memories."

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