After filming all those Tolkien movies, there were a bunch of sets left standing in New Zealand. These have been turned into tourist attractions. A lot of people will pay to tour a hobbit house.
Of course, most are now homes for sheep.
The charm of hobbit houses has drawn many people around the world to build and live in them. This one is from Wales:
This one may be closed down by neighbors because the builders did not get permits and ignored local building codes. (Article and film here.):
This one from Montana which has a hobbit village all its own):
This structure by artist Zube at Whistler, B.C. pre-dates the Jackson films and was called “The Mushroom House”. It sold for $3.5 Million:
So, of course, there are more Mushroom Houses. You can tour this one (if you’re willing to put up with awful commentary by the realtors trying to sell the place), it is billed as an “Art Icon House”:
Now there is something to be said for living in an objet d’art and a whole lot to be said against it — does the roof leak? what kind of plumbing does it have? and, most important, how do I clean this sucker? It’s one thing to spill something awful on your living-room floor, it’s something else to consider that you have just ruined a masterpiece. But, hey! Isn’t this a swell looking place:
But why do these dwellings have such appeal? Perhaps it’s all about curved lines, which are generally more interesting to look at than blocky forms. We live our lives, away from home, in cubicles, so why not rest our psyches, along with our bodies at home? Well, there are reasons — the shapes of furniture and objects that need to be stored and… But say, look at this:
The curviest of architects was Antonio Gaudi who based his lines on natural forms. They are compelling:
But there are two differences between Gaudi’s work and hobbit houses: first, Gaudi worked on a larger scale. His buildings are usually large spaces meant for many people to use. Single-family dwellings are exceptions:
The second big difference between Gaudi and hobbitry is that his work reaches up while hobbit houses lie low. That’s the difference between designing for the open Catalan plains and the thick forests of Europe. Hobbit houses without trees or sticking up above the earth just look wrong:
But I don’t want to speak against other people’s feelings about these structures, especially when I find some of the New Zealand hobbit houses so inviting: