Pennsylvania and Wales Hobbit Holes

(Image source: KULfoto)

Still in time for the run of The Hobbit (2012), see two hillside homes based off of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Although several Hobbit-styled buildings dot the world, few achieve the spirit of the hobbit-holes of the Shire. These two homes were chosen because like hobbit-holes, they are built accordingly into the surrounding terrain, utilize nearby resources, are simple, and of course, are comfortable.

Archer & Buchanan: Chester County, Pennsylvania

Archer & Buchanan built this cottage in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Completed in 2004, the 600-square foot building now houses the client’s Tolkien memorabilia.

The firm aimed to build according to the property’s landscape. Designers set the building into a hillside and existing 18th century stone wall to minimize its visual impact. Notable features are a 54″ diameter Spanish cedar door, “butterfly window,” and landscape materials chosen from the area. The interior is furnished and its design hides electical, air, and security systems. According to Archer & Buchanan’s website, the cottage is meant to provide a “quiet sanctuary for solitude and contemplation.”

Additional sources: Architecture Linked, Associated Press, Landscape Architects Network

Simon Dale: Wales

With a chainsaw, hammer, 1-inch chisel, no experience in architecture, and four months, Simon Dale built his family their own Hobbit house in Wales. By using reclaimed material and natural resources in the surrounding area, Dale created a home physically and metaphorically close to nature.

The home is dug into the hillside and made primarily of wood, straw, stone, and mud. A skylight lets in natural light, while solar panels provide electricity. Water travels by gravity from a nearby spring. The structure lacks a circular door, but makes up for this deficiency with its architectural ingenuity.

Of his work, Dale writes that with effort, anyone can make this kind of building.

Infographic: Gangnam Style “The 5 Basic Steps”

If you haven’t heard of the viral song “Gangnam Style” by South Korean musician PSY, then you’ve been living in the dark. Since its release July 15, the music video has topped charts and generated countless parodies. As of November 24, it became the most viewed video on YouTube. Today, December 5, viewership has reached 888,351,265 and will continue to grow.

Don’t know the dance yet? You should be ashamed. Fear not, however, because this infographic will tell you all you need.

Words of wisdom: dress classy and dance cheesy.

8-Bit Graffiti Street Art

The word “graffiti” usually elicits imagery of giant bubble letters on brick walls and sides of trucks. There are a number of graffiti artists, however, who take inspiration from the 8-bit technology of years past. Using a grid style, they create works different from your typical graffiti artist. Their pieces often include media icons from videogames such as the Mario and Pokémon series, as well as movies.

Here are eight examples of great 8-bit graffiti street art:

Boo (Mario franchise) graffiti by Gameboyone.

Haunter (Pokémon franchise) graffiti by Gameboyone.

Mario graffiti (photo by Travis Volk on Flickr).

Warioland 3 graffiti (photo by Tobias Abel on Flickr).

Totoro chalk art by srfive3 on deviantART.

Air Man (Mega Man) graffiti by China-based artist Ano.

Hulk graffiti by China-based artist Ano.

Iron man graffiti by China-based artist Ano.