When commissioned to design a place worthy of housing an extensive collection of J.R.R. Tolkien manuscripts and artifacts, an architect could easily go overboard and make a farcical movie set out of such an assignment. Instead, Peter Archer focused on the fine craft, beautiful materials and traditional construction implied by the original Hobbit-related novels.
Existing stones on the site from an aged rock wall were appropriated for use in the new hobbit house structure. Custom-crafted round wooden doors add to the authenticity of the design but are also an example of the balance between fantasy and reality, with structural requirements dictating the thickness a door could be and the strength of the steel required to hinge it on a single point.
Custom patterns are etched in various places, adding to the sense of a hand-crafted approach applied to the entire building project. The end result is a fantastically rich and complex design blending modern materials and practices with traditional ones and balancing between the fictional world of the project’s inspiration with extant design styles throughout history.
“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. The design incorporates unique features such as hand-made clay roof tiles, a 54” diameter Spanish cedar door with hand-forged single pivot hinge, custom ‘butterfly window,’ and many fanciful interior details.”
About the architects:
“ARCHER & BUCHANAN ARCHITECTURE is a full service architectural design firm meeting the needs of sophisticated clients who value a collaborative design process, attention to detail and quality construction. Since our inception in 1996, Archer & Buchanan has been recognized for exceptional design of residential projects including new homes, additions, renovations and historic restorations; equestrian facilities; and institutional projects including work for educational, not-for-profit and commercial clients. The philosophy of Archer & Buchanan Architecture begins with the belief that buildings will be inhabited for a century or more and should continue to gain character, beauty and value as the years pass.”