A lot of nature in a small space
by Milenka Thomas | Aug 15, 2012

Like a reptile, this squamous form snakes its way through the rugged landscape on the Swedish west coast. It is the brainchild of architect Torsten Ottesjö, who built “Hus-1” on this spacious plot of land, far removed from any urban structures. The design was his attempt to unravel the apparent conflict between architecture and nature. In his view, a building shouldn’t stand like some foreign body in its surroundings; on the contrary, its organic silhouette should enable it to harmoniously blend in with the nature that surrounds it. On the outside the convex building is enveloped in spruce-wood roofing shingles, custom-built by the architect for this very project. Some sections of the house are balanced on dainty stilts giving the impression that it has actually sprouted out of the earth itself.

With a surface area of just 25 square-meters, living space in “Hus-1” is certainly compact, meaning an ingenious spatial concept was called for. In close consultation with the house’s two occupants, who live in “Hus-1” throughout the entire year, the interior walls and the flooring have been fitted with light wood paneling. Most of the furniture has been custom-made for their home by Ottesjö himself, and so blends seamlessly into the space, while skillfully dividing the living space up into the respective functional areas, such as the sleeping quarters and dining area. Thanks on the one hand to the use of natural materials and on the other to the glazed façade at the narrower end of the building, the interior retains a feeling of spaciousness and brightness despite limited space. At the same time, the inward-tilting, gabled walls create a sense of security for it inhabitants.

Ottesjö paid very close attention to ecological aspects when planning the project. The building’s reduced dimensions spelled low costs for materials and simultaneously mean that its occupants consume less energy. Furthermore, during the construction process only biodegradable materials were used. The roof and walls have been treated with a cellulose-based coating that renders the wooden exterior resistant to wind and water but is still recyclable. Finally “Hus-1” was conceived in such a way that the entire structure can be removed at any time, without difficulty, in one piece – leaving nature to its own devices once again.

“Hus-1“ was planned and built by Swedish architect Torsten Ottesjö, photo © David Relan
“Hus-1“ was planned and built by Swedish architect Torsten Ottesjö, photo © David Relan
The roof shingles are made of spruce wood and give the object a squamous appearance, photo © David Relan
“Hus-1“ was built in a rugged landscape at the Swedish west coast, photo © David Relan
Part of “Hus-1” is built on stilts, which leads to an almost floating appearance of the house, photo © David Relan
The interior consists mainly of customized furniture, created by Ottesjö, who does not only work as an architect, but also as a carpenter, photo © David Relan
The bright interior provides visual spaciousness, photo © David Relan
The building comes in a curved shape, photo © David Relan
Ottesjö aimed to create a house that blends with the surrounding nature, due to its shape and the use of natural materials, photo © David Relan
The interior is light-flooded thanks to two generous window fronts, photo © David Relan
The creation process of “Hus-1“ took place in close collaboration with the tenants, photo © David Relan
"Hus-1“ is inhabited by two people, who live here all year round, photo © David Relan
Atmospheric video of “Hus-1” by Torsten Ottesjö