JaK Studio ‘Spy Glass’ Beach Hut Unveiled on Eastbourne Beach

The idea for the ‘Spy Glass’ was to build a structure that has all the nostalgia of an original beach hut with a new physical form that would pay homage to the classic beach hut – an iconic symbol of the British seaside.

The Spy Glass is built on a recessed turntable allowing the transparent ‘picture window’ of the hut to be turned like traditional slot binoculars – this can be rotated in a 180-degree direction, via remote control, to face the sun, seascape or the bright lights of Eastbourne Pier, ‘reacting’ to daily life around it.

At the promenade end of the hut, there is a timber clad entrance door with an overhang formed by the cantilevered daybed inside. This cantilever has 2 port hole windows and an external shower head. The adaptability of the Spy Glass allows the hut can be used as a private beach hut.

JaK Studio set about designing the beach hut using a combination of robust nautical materials. The hut sits on a heavy-duty vehicle turntable which enables it to rotate from east to west. The Spy Glass measurements are based on a traditional beach hut, with typical dimensions of 2 meters wide x 3 meters long x 3 meters high.

Jacob Low, Founding Partner, JaK Studio:

‘We wanted to pay homage to the traditional beach hut whilst creating a modern concept for a design classic. A big inspiration to our project was the coin slot binoculars which allow one to gaze out to sea. As you can move these binoculars users can also move our Spy Glass to interact with the sun or coastline. It will hopefully bring a bit of nostalgia to local residents and those visiting on days out.

We want the Spy Glass to be enjoyed by everybody and we feel the client has gained a place of real interest. As a studio, we are gaining a reputation for our reinterpretations of classic designs such as our caravan for the BBC. This is JaK’s first beach hut design!”

 William Deleporte, Project Architect, JaK Studio:

“This has been a labour of love to work from start to finish. It’s a project so close the studio’s heart. The manufacturing and installation of the hut has represented many challenges, from the engineering required to rotate the hut, the specification of the fabric to withstand such extreme climatic conditions and the installation itself on such a prominent position on the promenade. We think our beach hut will add something special to the coastline, at the same time it will fit in with the fabric of the traditional British seafront.”

 Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister, said:

“The JaK Studio Spy Glass will be a valuable asset to the Eastbourne community and support the current development of a creative hub in Eastbourne. We expect it to become a visual focal point on the shore line and encourage discovery of the area.”

The Spy Glass will be available to visit and rent as event space.

Project Team

RIBA Architects + Designers: JaK Studio
Design Consultants: Seymour Powell
Structural Engineers: Car Ltd
Consulting Artist: Alban Low
Lighting Designers: Light IQ
Textile Designer: Cliveworks
CDM2015 Advisor: Fred Hurr BA Hons, MCICES, RFAPS
Specialist Concrete Manufacture: GSSL Gunite and Shotcrete Services Limited
Vehicular Turntable: UK Turntables Ltd