Pennsylvania-based architecture firm Archer & Buchanan received an unusual commission: The client, an avid J.R.R. Tolkien fan, wanted a Hobbit House built on his property. We've seen Hobbit-inspired houses before, but most of them were labors-of-love that looked janky, handmade and amateurish; but Peter Archer proved he was equal to the task by using actual architecture skills and talented, professional craftspeople to execute a beautiful home in its own right.
What most impressed us is Archer's attention to detail, incorporating unlikely design elements described and/or sketched by Tolkien, and addressed with real-world solutions. For example, how would you hang a circular door? Archer knew it had to be hinged at a single point to work, but a 54-inch-diameter slab of cedar isn't exactly light. Multiple craftsmen told him it couldn't be done, but he persisted until he found an ironworker who made it work. And the crescent-shaped flange is beautiful.
Another design feature taken straight from Tolkien's sketches is the "butterfly" window, whose unusual design calls for the circular portal to open in two halves from the center, necessitating an odd hinge placement:
Best of all, the house doesn't look like some rude, fanciful intrusion on the environment; it looks like it belongs there. The fact that Archer incorporated stones harvested from a collapsed 18th-century wall on the property probably helped.
Sadly, no one will actually live in this structure; believe it or not, it was commissioned purely to house the owner's collection of Tolkien memorabilia.
An avid and serious collector of J.R.R. Tolkien books, manuscripts and artifacts, this client desired a cottage-like setting based on Tolkien's writings and imagery of a home for a Hobbit. This "cottage" displays and archives the owner's valuable collection in an environment that will protect the material while providing a quiet sanctuary for solitude and contemplation.
Local pranksters should build a giant, inflatable Smaug with which to harass him.