Henhouse by Torsten Ottesjö

This miniature house was inspired by a hen's sheltering wing wrapped around her fledglings.

GOTHENBURG – Located in the north of Gothenburg, this henhouse is surrounded by the scenic landscape that characterizes Sweden’s west coast. On a rather rough and uneven site with a steep slope, the project was realized without the help of plans or sections.

In An Outline of European Architecture (1943), Nikolaus Pevsner wrote: ‘Nearly everything that encloses space on a scale sufficient for a human being to move in is a building; the term architecture applies only to buildings designed with a view to aesthetic appeal.’ This statement followed his observance that: ‘A bicycle shed is a building; Lincoln Cathedral is a piece of architecture.’

One wonders in which category Pevsner would have placed the henhouse recently completed by Torsten Ottesjö, who clearly invested a dose of architectural panache into a project inspired by a hen’s sheltering wing wrapped around her fledglings. The Swedish architect’s design, suitable for up to a dozen chickens, was commissioned by his neighbour, who had seen some of Ottesjö’s previous work.

Resting on a steel foundation, Ottesjö’s improvised structure is constructed predominantly of timber. The rear of the building is clad in wooden shingles arranged in a smooth colour gradient that resembles a hen’s feathers. Highlighting the front side are little green ‘barn doors’. A filigree of steel supports blends in with the rocks below, making the henhouse appear to be floating in midair.

'The building was grown around curved lines drawn in the air, and is designed after the protective wing of a mother hen', the architects say.

Photos courtesy of David Relan

*This project was featured in Mark #40's Cross Section! Click here to subscribe.*

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