Category Archives: Architecture

hobbit home update

A while back I shared a few hobbit-style homes people had built, but my favorite so far has to be the Low-Impact Woodland Home that Simon Dale and his family built in Wales:

Being your own (have a go) architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land rather than, at worst, a mass produced box designed for maximum profit and convenience of the construction industry.

Main tools used: chainsaw, hammer and 1 inch chisel, little else really. Oh and by the way I am not a builder or carpenter, my experience is only having a go at one similar house 2yrs before and a bit of mucking around inbetween. This kind of building is accessible to anyone. My main relevant skills were being able bodied, having self belief and perseverence and a mate or two to give a lift now and again.

Whether you agree with his motives and philosophy or not, it’s a fascinating story. The beautiful photos are worth a look for their own sake, and there’s even a gallery of similar homes. New Hobbiton, anyone?

Green Roofs: An Introduction with Pretty Pictures

green roofMake that drool-inducing gorgeous photos of places I’d love to see in person. EcoGeek (now added to my regular feeds) has a fun piece on green roofs. Not just solar tiles or recycled materials, though; these roofs are actually green, with grass and other plants.

It’s not just for hobbits anymore. The logic of green roofs is becoming more apparent. We can minimize our bills while maximizing the beauty of the urban landscape. And every day it’s becoming a little easier to live in a house that just happens to have plants growing on it.

Maybe for you, my friend. Maybe for you. The rest of us will just watch and dream.

eco-friendly palace?

Here’s something to ponder: is an eco-friendly palace an oxymoron? From The Register:

The Prince of Wales has been given the green light to build an eco-friendly house, rumoured to be a “starter home” for Prince William once he gets married.

In a more functional than palatial move, a 200-litre rainwater reservoir will collect and recycle rainwater to the house. The house will even have an eco-friendly reed bed sewage system.

The house has been scaled down from its original 14,885 sq ft to 8,500 sq ft to make it more energy efficient but the occupants will still live in splendour. There are six reception rooms downstairs and six bedrooms upstairs five of which are en suite.

Low energy and water saving appliances will be fitted everywhere, whilst three large recycling bins will make the best use of waste and, according to a sustainability report, make “recycling and composting easy for the occupants”.

The report, by Dr Gail Kenton, of the BP Institute in Cambridge, gives the house a “very good” rating according to the Eco Homes 2006 criteria. It misses out on an “excellent” rating predominantly because of its remote location.

So… yeah. On the one hand, it’s a model of how a large residence can be made more sustainable by combining available building techniques. On the other hand, it’s an 8500-square-foot palace, not to mention the entirely new construction in a rural area. Built for royals, no less. Hrmph.