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Home for Life
January 27, 2003 10:08 AM   Subscribe

The Home for Life Project, designed by Roger Dean, will appeal to anyone who dreams of living in Hobbiton. The earth sheltered homes are made of gunnite and are simple to construct, and the curvilinear architecture of the interiors is based on Dean's research into the psychological responses to spaces of children. I really want to check one of these out someday. (Previously mentioned here.)
posted by homunculus (32 comments total)

 
oh yeah! kickin' back by the fireplace, 'close to the edge' on the hifi, what more could a rabid yes fan want?!
hifi mods by eddie offord, perhaps, but oh well...
posted by quonsar at 10:22 AM on January 27, 2003


Brilliant, really. The design is naturally geothermal. And nature can potentially grow right back over the house. I've always imagined an ideal home as such. To disrupt the environment as little as possible, one must build below ground or far above it, right?

Here is another fellow dreaming of a bio-friendly hobbit hole.
posted by Shane at 10:24 AM on January 27, 2003


Groovilicious post, H. Just one thing: the pics remind me a little of "2001" interiors with rounded edges. Maybe Dean could coat the walls with grass, or thatch. Kids like nature and natural textures a lot, too.
posted by troutfishing at 11:11 AM on January 27, 2003


I've always imagined an ideal home as such. To disrupt the environment as little as possible, one must build below ground or far above it, right?

Sure, if that's your goal, that's clearly the way to achieve it. But I don't understand why "disrupting the environment as little as possible" would be a criterion for an "ideal home." It'd be pretty far down my list of things to shop for. Who wants to live underground or on stilts?
posted by kindall at 11:16 AM on January 27, 2003


*siiiiigh*
posted by Shane at 11:20 AM on January 27, 2003


how is burying a home any less disruptive, at least in the short-term, than clearing land for a normal house? Anyway, cool idea. Kubrick meets LOTR. For earth-themed living, I still prefer adobe though.
posted by gottabefunky at 11:22 AM on January 27, 2003


...short-term...

Short-term.
posted by Shane at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2003


The design is naturally geothermal

It's heated by geysers?
posted by signal at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2003


Well, since I'm not a hobbit or a teletubby, I must confess I find these rooms somewhat claustrophobic. I suspect I'd get dizzy if I had to live in that kind of space. Looks like a melting igloo seen through one of those distorting angular lenses or a house of mirrors or something equally unsettling. I mean, can you imagine waking up with a major hangover in one of those houses?
posted by 111 at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2003


Hobbiton after being vandalized by Corbu, anyway. To paraphrase kindly old professor T., "This was a Hobbut Hole and that spells b-o-u-r-g-e-o-i-s." Gimmie back my oak beams, oak panelling, oak floors, leather chairs and Turkish carpets. Got no problem with the underground aspect but as for the design, when I want to live in a styrofoam takee-outee box I'll let the architect know. He should not hold his breath. Gunite, forsooth.


> how is burying a home any less disruptive, at least in the
> short-term, than clearing land for a normal house?

The excavation is done by large numbers of highly trained gophers.
posted by jfuller at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2003


It's heated by geysers?

Bilbo says:

"No, it's naturally insulated and takes advantage of the fact that the earth's temperature is much more stable than the air! Earth-tubes or water circulation systems are optional!

"What the f**k is this, the anti-tree-hugger brigade? Give a f**kin' hobbit a f**kin' break!

" *Ahem* Now, would you like some tea and seed-biscuits? I just baked them."


posted by Shane at 11:52 AM on January 27, 2003


how is burying a home any less disruptive, at least in the short-term, than clearing land for a normal house?

Lower heating costs, less disruption of the skyline, more space for plants, less light pollution, and probably other things that I can't think of.

This design doesn't really do it for me.. looks too modern and there's not really much you can do to make it look decent (as the site points out, you can't really wallpaper it, and it would be hard to paint different rooms different colors, since it's all basically one surface with no clear delineation between rooms.. it would all have to be pretty much one uniform color with very few wallhangings, etc). I'd love a house like Bag End in The Fellowship of the Ring though. That'd be so rad.
posted by Hildago at 12:09 PM on January 27, 2003


I was a big Dean fan back in my teens and it sorta freaked me out to see those pics of him. He looks so...well...older guyish. For some reason I have a hard time dealing with the cool people of my youth becoming senior citizens.
posted by davebush at 12:14 PM on January 27, 2003


um, stay away from the mirror davebush.
posted by quonsar at 12:19 PM on January 27, 2003


Who wants to live underground or on stilts?

Mememmemememeeme!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:37 PM on January 27, 2003


Only the English would be insane enough to make wallpaper a major architectural issues. With all the questions raised by this pretty interesting project, half of every page on this site consists of warnings and apologies for the fact that one may not be able to wallpaper the rooms. Who would think that anyone advanced enough to pay for and live in one of these innovative houses would actually give a hoot and holler about wallpaper. Wallpaper is possibly one of the dullest subjects on earth. The juxtaposition of wallpaper with this exciting architectural project is so conceptually disjunctive that it's killing me. (Although, it has to be said, that one of America's great artists Charles Burchfield, made his living as a wallpaper designer.)
posted by Faze at 12:45 PM on January 27, 2003


It is one thing to tackle the problem, as this architect did, of designing a child's bed or a child's room and come up with a womb-like solution. It is entirely something else to suggest that a whole house should be womb-like and full of curvilinearity. There are good reasons most human architecture deals with vertical and horizontal elements and right angles. It basically comes down to this: our standard architecture works well for us. Trees (are most common building material) are vertical and the earth is horizontal. We stand up straight or lie down flat. Things don't roll off horizontal surfaces. There's a lot more than just wallpaper that won't work right in these houses -- right-angled furniture and cabinetry is easy to manufacture and will fit neatly into right-angled rooms, but in these wombs you'd just about have to have custom-built furniture. Most available building materials lend themselves most easily and economically to rectilinear construction. Our cities are laid out (mostly) in right-angled grids (as is the entire US Midwest). Curvilinear spaces are fine for snails, who build them that way; hexagonal spaces work well for bees; humans function best in rectangles and squares.
posted by beagle at 1:14 PM on January 27, 2003


humans function best in rectangles and squares
and wombs...
posted by quonsar at 1:18 PM on January 27, 2003


um, stay away from the mirror davebush.
Zactly. I'll do whatever I can to fool myself into thinking I'm still 15, listening to Talking Heads and reading Trouser Press in my shag carpeted bedroom.
posted by davebush at 1:20 PM on January 27, 2003


...humans function best in rectangles and squares....
Speak for yourself. Personally I would rather live in a space that reflected the landscape and blended with its surroundings, rather than be locked into a standard issue saltine box in the 'burbs.

...But I don't understand why "disrupting the environment as little as possible" would be a criterion for an "ideal home." It'd be pretty far down my list of things to shop for...
This is exactly why the planet is quickly becoming trashed. Perhaps if people were more willing to integrate more eco-friendly designs and materials into their homes and lifestyles we wouldn't have the pending eco-catastrophe we are faced with today.
That doesn't mean you have to go live in a hobbit-cave and eat nothing but wheatgrass and hug every tree you see. Just open your mind a little.
posted by evilcupcakes at 1:49 PM on January 27, 2003


Who would think that anyone advanced enough to pay for and live in one of these innovative houses would actually give a hoot and holler about wallpaper

So you have to be "advanced" to live in a particular type of house now? And to be concerned with wallpaper is to be automatically.. what.. barbaric?

Not to start a big thing about wallpaper here, but the fact that you can't put up wallpaper isn't the point; it's that the same reason you can't hang wallpaper is the same reason you can't hang prints, or family photos, tapestries, tribal masks, giant moose heads, etc., etc... Or for that matter, as beagle reminds us, furnish your house with anything but specially made furniture. So basically what you've got is a very well-engineered house that has bare white gunnite walls and furniture that you may or may not find appealing, but are stuck with anyway.

And if this doesn't matter to you, then you're in luck. But a lot of people would not be comfortable in something they had to live in every day but couldn't alter to suit their tastes.

Don't get me wrong, I think these houses are cool, but they do have some drawbacks.
posted by Hildago at 1:54 PM on January 27, 2003


...you can't hang prints, or family photos, tapestries, tribal masks, giant moose heads, etc., etc

The thing to do in a room with concrete or cinder-block walls is to use masonry nails to attach a thin strip of wood to the wall. Then you can more easily attache your prints, family photos, tapestries, tribal masks, and giant moose-heads to the wooden strip. Actually, the giant moose head would be a bit heavy, but necessity is the mother of ingenuity (etc), and hanging a dead moose on your wall is barbaric (IMHO).

My mind is imagining a curvy room with curvy walls with curvy pictures hung on them...
posted by Shane at 2:03 PM on January 27, 2003


Well, I think the problem is that they would be facing upwards or downwards, and not straight on, making them (pictures and prints*, mainly) hard to see. This would be an easy problem to solve, at least mechanically, but you've still got the problem of trying to display flat art on curved walls, which is less easy to get around.

My mind is imagining a curvy room with curvy walls with curvy pictures hung on them...

... Me, in the corner, whimpering and numbed by vertigo...

*I guess some art would be easier to appreciate at unusual angles
posted by Hildago at 2:26 PM on January 27, 2003


"...hanging a dead moose on your wall is barbaric..."

Yeah, but I can't get the live ones to stand still long enough to put the nails in.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:26 PM on January 27, 2003


If they were available in my area, and I had the funds, I would buy one right now.
posted by Xkot at 2:31 PM on January 27, 2003


... Me, in the corner, whimpering and numbed by vertigo...

Wait, no corners.
posted by Hildago at 2:37 PM on January 27, 2003


...no corners.

Heh! Makes you rethink a lot of things. Humans are square, man.

Don't buy a dead moose, Xkot. They're tacky as hell : )
posted by Shane at 2:41 PM on January 27, 2003


Where do you put up the book shelves?
posted by tio2d at 6:59 PM on January 27, 2003


Very cool! And for all of you naysayers, at least these aren't Thomas Kinkade houses.
posted by TedW at 7:17 PM on January 27, 2003


Those who like this style might be interested in building with cob.
posted by modofo at 7:45 PM on January 27, 2003


Check out these homes. Rather similar architecture...built using inflatable airforms.
posted by Yeroc at 7:55 PM on January 27, 2003


Speaking of hobbits, here's an interesting comparison of Tolkien's and Wagner's Ring sagas.
posted by homunculus at 11:48 PM on January 27, 2003


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