Friday, November 16, 2007

Who'd buy a house in Hobbiton?

The Shire, as this Guardian article relates, is an American planned community village, with a distinctly Tolkienesque design. The look of it doesn't exactly suit me, but I must admit the buildings can't be any worse than what architects are dishing up in Australia these days (notable the execrable and ubiquitous Australian McMansion), and one would hope that they're a lot more environmentally sustainable. (Perhaps that's faint praise.) I've advocated underground shelter for many years, and let's hope that The Shire takes this leaf out of Hobbiton -- but I don't think it does. What it does is, if anything, very Disneyesque and creepy, a kind of hyperreality we can probably well do without. It's not The Truman Show, it's The Tolkien Show.

The article also refers to Prince Charles, who is building his own version of the past. He's whacky in some things, but puts his money where some of his good ideas are in the field of architecture and community, so I dips me lid to the Prince of Wales.

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