JRR Tolkien wrote his epic fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings, between 1937 and 1949. Since then it has inspired a huge amount of fan art, focusing on Tolkien’s detailed characters. Lord of the Ring fanatics have even recreated scenery from Tolkien’s Middle Earth, such as these Hobbit houses.
Tolkien describes hobbits as being humanoid in appearance, measuring between 2 and 4 feet. They have curly brown hair on their feet, which have leathery soles. Hobbits are not as stocky as dwarves, yet have a stout build. Their ears are slightly pointed.
Hobbits live in ‘hobbit-holes’, homes that are dug into the earth banks and feature round doors and windows. Hobbits are renowned for their hospitality and invented the custom of giving away presents on their birthdays. Their culture revolves largely around food, as hobbits eat several times a day and have enormous appetites. It is said that hobbits invented the art of smoking “pipe-weed”.
Artist’s depiction of a Hobbit House by Guy Sheperd
Real Hobbit Houses
Although Tolkien’s fantasy realm does not exist on our planet Earth, it has been a source of inspiration for fans of the fantasy genre. Some of these folk have followed the example of the hobbits and designed homes based on Hobbit Holes.
Architect Peter Archer designed the hobbit house, above, on a larger scale so that it’s human inhabitants could comfortably live there. Archer incorporated the round doors and windows of hobbit houses into his design.
Simon Dale built this hobbit house for his family in Wales. The house was built using natural materials found in the area, and has been dug into a hillside to create a Hobbit Hole effect.
Matamata, New Zealand
The original set for the Lord of the Rings trilogy still exists on farms around Matamata, New Zealand. This area has become known as Hobbiton, and attracts numerous visitors from around the world each year. Film director Peter Jackson chose this area as a setting for the movie trilogy because of its rich, pastoral farmlands.
Modern architecture relies heavily on modern materials such as metal support beams and concrete. However, many modern architects are opting to create eco-friendly environmental living for their clients, by building earth-sheltered houses, aka underground homes. These houses are built into hillsides in a similar manner to hobbit holes and often incorporate locally-found natural materials.
The images below show more example of earth-sheltered homes;