The traditional image of a beach hut for most people would be the beautiful shabby chic candy striped huts, taking us back to the Edwardian era in a tide of nostalgia, when changing in public was frowned upon so councils provided these wonderful little huts often with matching deck chairs, for people to change into their equally fun swimming attire. How times have changed from those days, some say for the better, others beg to differ, but the beach and its artistic draw is still strong. Whistable was awash with budding artists recently as #landscapeartistoftheyear filmed along their beautiful beach.
However those begging to differ quite loudly at the moment about architectural flair not quite resonating are the residents of beach town Lowestoft, which has become part of £2.6m regeneration scheme. This scheme will see the installation of 72 contemporary beach huts. The huts will be clad in sustainable materials and designed to apparently be reminiscent of neighbouring architecture. However some people are labelling them ‘hideous’, ‘like storage huts and out of place’ whilst others thought they were ‘beautiful’ – what do you think?
Followers of my work will know that I am an admirer of beach huts and the seaside and the artistic inspiration they provide; in particular the great abstract patterns created by the light and shade falling on them. My ‘Beach Huts’ was an early example of my interest in perspective, colour and pattern. Based the beach huts at Shoeburyness, near where I live. I enjoy the varied and contrasting colours and the traditional steps up to these little huts, with the shadows created on the sand. The painting is simple and yet, I think, boldly effective in this simplicity of line and colour. Traditional beach huts have been painted by so many artists and re-created artistically in so many areas, admired for their colours and style, so they must have something aesthetically pleasing that we all love.
Admittedly the new huts at Lowestoft look like they could lend themselves to an interesting painting, with their strong lines and architectural structure, the shadows and play on light looks like something I would enjoy capturing but hopefully they will keep the tradition of wonderful multi colours to maybe lift these a little more. Architect Chaplin Farrant didn’t seem too fazed by the comments of ‘ghastly’ ‘The great thing about architecture is that it promotes discussion, everyone has a valid opinion and we welcome the feedback.’ – politely put but pretty sure he would rather a few more positive comments for this interesting and seeming rather controversial project.
Either way the beach is a great place of inspiration summer or winter where we can enjoy and appreciate the movement, light, shadows and atmosphere for our art so maybe there’s room for contemporary and traditional architecture to blend aesthetically into our great beach sites.