While some mistakenly believe that earth-bermed architecture is a passing fad, the truth is that the practice of building homes deep into the landscape is one of the most ancient forms of shelter construction. Luckily for anyone looking to live in one of these energy-efficient abodes, a gorgeous two-bedroom hobbit home covered with 8 inches of earth and native vegetation is on the market for just $190,000.
Located on 3.4 acres of densely wooded forest in River Falls, Wisconsin, the two-bedroom, two-bath hobbit house is a beautiful example of earth-bermed construction done right. Designed by architect Mike McGuire, the 2,236-square-foot home is covered with 8 inches of earth and topped with natural vegetation. The design of the energy-efficient “sod house” with two arched glass openings was created to mimic the rolling landscape of the countryside that surrounds it.
The hobbit home‘s structural base includes a series of arching steel culverts that not only gives the unique structure a flowing silhouette, but it also creates a durable frame that can withstand the weight of the earth. Asphalt damp-proofing and a plastic sheet were placed on the curved roofs to provide additional waterproofing.
In addition to its practical purposes, the arched culverts also elevate the interior ceilings significantly to open up the living space. Along with the extra high and wide arches, the living area includes all-white walls and various skylights that flood the interior with natural light.
Although the design is visually appealing, it also boasts a number of incredibly efficient passive features. The thick layers of soil that envelope the structure help maintain a stable interior temperature, conserving energy year-round. Additionally, masonry brick fireplaces were built into every room. Because brick heats up quickly and retains heat, the fireplaces provide a warm and cozy interior throughout the year.
Images via Dale Antiel, Edina Realty Inc.