(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.”
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.