Recently, I was driving through the countryside near Zürich and about ran into a ditch! In the green pastures near Winterthur, I had spotted what looked like a UFO!
Or was it?
As it turns out, I was looking at a very unconventional "earth home" by Vetsch Architektur. This curvy residence appeared perfectly blended into the landscape, even though its white walls made it stand out. I could not help but be reminded of Gaudí's buildings in Barcelona.
Back home, I googled this unusual architecture and was surprised to find out that there are several other earth home communities in Switzerland - and more than 70 worldwide!
It actually makes ecological sense to move into a hobbit house, because the natural insulation of the turf reduces heat loss during winter and provides natural cooling in the summer. The rooftops are usually covered with soil and plants, further enhancing energy independence.
According to the architect, these homes will even withstand storms, earthquakes and fires! Mr. Vetsch refers to this protective property as a "third skin", which seals the living quarters off from natural disasters.
(Pictures courtesy of Vetsch Architektur)