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Outbuilding of the Week: A Beekeeper’s Tiny Bower Among the Flowers

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Outbuilding of the Week: A Beekeeper’s Tiny Bower Among the Flowers

September 16, 2016

Founded in 1920, a 78-plot allotment in Aachen, Germany has a few well-established rules that members must follow in the community garden: don’t spray herbicides, don’t plant a non-fruit-bearing tree, don’t dig a swimming pool. And if you want to build a garden shed? It must be rustic (no furniture or equipment suitable for permanent living allowed) and no bigger than 258 square feet.

Within those guidelines, Stuttgart-based Amunt Architects built a charming 172-square-foot garden shed—or call it a bower; they do—for a beekeeper and his family to use for both work space and overnight lodging:

Photography by Björn Martenson courtesy of Amunt Architects.

Above: “The small shed we built features a special construction technique: its outer shell is made ​​of textile concrete, a material normally used in landscape design or road construction,” say the architects. “Here it acts as a five-millimeter-thick skin, protecting the underlying wood structure against the weather.”

The material, available in rolls of flexible fabric impregnated with concrete from UK-based Concrete Canvas, “only hardens once you add water,” the architects say. They add that using it is “almost like throwing a soft costume over your building.”

Above: Built on an existing foundation (of a long-gone gazebo), the shed was framed with “inexpensive, commercially available 6-by-10-centimeter squared timbers created and clad with rough sawn form boards,” the architects say.

To this skeleton, the architects added a concrete skin to make the facade water- and fireproof.

Gartenhaus in einer Schrebergartensiedlung Ferienhaus

Above: Inside the one-room shed, the beekeeper keeps tools; two closets and a sleeping loft complete the interior.

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Above: The architects’ drawings show the elevations of all four sides of the shed.

For more of our favorite garden sheds, see Hardscaping 101: Garden Sheds and Outbuilding of the Week: Artemis Russell’s Tiny Garden Shed.

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