Torsten Ottesjö's Hus.Ett house is a beautiful woodland retreat with a sheen and shape reminiscent of one of Scandinavia's favorite fish - the herring. The Swedish home has a narrow and compact construction that measures a minute 1 cubic meter, challenging the concept of how much space humans need to feel comfortable. The single-room micro-structure evokes the feeling of a large and airy space and features a carefully considered plan that addresses natural human movements.
When designing the home Ottesjö sought to create a structure that embodied the appearance and mobility of a living creature that has adapted to its surroundings. This organic approach gives the building a distinct aesthetic that harmonizes with the site on which it is settled. The micro space also draws inspiration from a more unlikely source: the automobile.
The designer says that, more often than not, you’re likely to meet a man more enamored with his car then his home – this seems to signify that humans create more meaningful relationships with volumes closer to their own size. Based on this idea he designed the small space to have an airy atmosphere – the wood interior finishes are light and bright, featuring white washes and unfinished wood. Floor-to-ceiling window panes on both ends of the structure suffuse the interior with light.
The building’s organic shape is designed to follow the “form and mechanics of the human body” – by working with double-curved surfaces, Ottesjö gave the Hus.Ett house a changing shape and sheen when viewed from different angles.
The interior features a few gadgets, clean surfaces, and built-in furniture, including a bed. Ottesjö however made a conscious effort to keep things minimal, not because of the space, but because he believes that humans need very little to get by. The entire room is optimized so that the compact volume feels much more spacious than it actually is. The design has the added benefit of reducing the home’s carbon footprint by forgoing the need to draw in additional resources to comfortably furnish the space.
Built from local, on site ash, pine, spruce, and aspen, the building is an economical construction that is easy to produce, process and manage. Wood was selected as the primary material due to its natural properties, which include durability, biodegradability and the beautiful quality it reveals as it ages.
The house is also very stable despite its light construction, which is formed by bending wood and applying dry wood glue. The walls and roof are layered with biodegradable cellulose-reinforced cardboard that is both water and windproof. Other materials used include natural fiber canvas (wood fibers), and for insulation, a mass out of recycled paper and salt (known as ‘ecofiber’ and quite common in Sweden). The structure as a whole rests on a steel construction that is anchored in the bedrock by a number of spikes/pegs, limiting the contact between the house and the ground. The total surface of the area where the construction and the bedrock are in contact is approximately one square decimeter.