A 269-Sqft House That Looks Like A Living Sculpture

It’s actually designed for two people. So you get like a hundred square feet and change.

They say there are no straight lines in nature–which is a bit of a misnomer. Crystals have unrelentingly sharp edges, after all, and a spider’s silk can hang perfectly taut. The truism “God doesn’t build in straight lines” probably works a bit better for most purposes.

The only windows are on each end of the house. Photo Credit: David Relan

Either way, it’s the first thing I thought when looking at Torsten Ottesjö’s Hus-1, a freestanding, 269-sqft home for two people on the Swedish coast that appears to have “actually sprouted out of the ground it rests on.” It’s a home that’s purposefully small–not just for cost of building or heating it, either–but because Ottesjö believes smaller spaces are actually superior for creatures of a human’s size than the common McMansion.

“It is more common to hear a person express love for a car than for a house. I believe it has to do with scale,” he writes on his site. “It is easier to feel the connection with a car since its volume resembles our own. On that basis I think it should be possible to build a house that is actually quite small but which feels large and spacious.”

At least one trick to this illusion of spaciousness is the constant curves surrounding you in any car, from the dashboards to the armrests, everything is Play-Doh molded. So Ottesjö constructed the Hus-1 with a skeleton of bent, arching wood more reminiscent of a sailboat’s hull than any home construction site. And the effect becomes a kind of designer hobbit hole, a wooden bathtub that you just want to sink into after a long day.

The spruce shingle roof actually absorbs some water, allowing moisture to diffuse inside. Photo Credit: David Relan

Without standing inside, stuffing the precious square footage with several rooms of knick knacks, it’s impossible to know just how such a space could accommodate our daily lives. But it’s visually striking enough to make us wonder, why aren’t more people building houses that curve? Is it too hard? Too expensive?

“Building a house with curved lines is harder, but not that much harder,” Ottesjö tells Co.Design. “In part it’s because the technique is novel, seeing as that we’ve traditionally built buildings consisting of straight lines. So if this tradition were to change, building with curved lines would not be as costly.”

[Hat tip: Platforma Arquitectura]


About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach