Two of the most remarkable forms of architecture in Middle Earth are the Hobbit Hole and the dwellings of the Elves.
Each have wonderful features we can learn from and incorporate in our own homes.
Just as the structure and shape of our bodies profoundly influences our well-being, so does the structure of our home environment.
In my exploration of ways we can bring Hobbit and Elven architecture into the 21st Century, I discovered many wonderful and empowering ideas and techniques.
This is a very interesting construction method, relatively unknown in this country. It is easy to do, requires no special or expensive equipment, and enables one to create strong, durable buildings with domes, vaults, arches, above or below ground.
Second, the value of Earth-sheltered buildings. As the Hobbits knew, these have many advantages; they are easy to heat or cool, they don't spoil the landscape, they are very secure; and ferrocement is the natural construction method!
Third, the value--and the possibility--of incorporating complex 3-dimensional shapes into building design: domes, vaults, hypars, and more. With ordinary construction such shapes are very difficult to build, but Ferrocement makes it easy. And such shapes have immense strength (suitable for earth-sheltering), and are also very pleasant to live in.
Fourth, earth-sheltered buildings can take advantage of some fascinating innovations in heating and cooling. Using Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) and Annual Geo-Thermal Storage (AGS), a house can store the heat of summer to use in the winter, and the cold of winter to moderate summer heat, thus automatically creating its own temperature! These methods are very low-tech, and inexpensive if designed into the building from the start.
Finally, I discovered two visionary architects, who I think must be reincarnations of the Elven and Hobbit designers of Middle Earth: Christopher Alexander and Roger Dean. They have both explored how to create spaces for ourselves which are truly life-enhancing.