Roundabout house

August 8, 2012

By Petr Josek

The driving instructions were clear: “Go up to the edge of the village of Velke Hamry II, stop your car at the Richter’s bus stop and there it is.”

That was what Bohumil Lhota told me on the phone after I got lost several times, cruising around trying to find my final destination.

Ok. Richter’s bus stop is here, but where is the house? I kept looking around seeing just normal brick houses at the edge of the village.

Oops, there it was.

I looked up and no wonder I did not see it. On top of a little hill surrounded by birch trees there was a strange metal construction which reminded me a little bit of a glass house for planting cucumbers, a little bit of a UFO and a little bit of a Hobbit house with several entrances dogged in a hill side.

The owner and builder, 73-year-old Bohumil Lhota walked down to rescue me.

We walked in through a glass door into the house. The concrete walls with small poorly illuminated and bulgy windows looked like a botanical garden. In the middle, there was a swimming pool and a huge metal pillar, the basic element of the building allowing movement up and down as well as sliding to its sides.

Bohumil Lhota pushed a switch and the ceiling started slowly to move up.

I had to run out to look at what was going on and surprise, surprise, within several minutes the house was elevated by two meters revealing the windows of the living room. Nice.

But how did he get this idea and why?

“I am a builder and all my life I was building classic houses for other people. I got a bit bored and therefore I decided to build something different for myself. I wanted to be closer to nature. Besides when it is cold outside, I can go down to the ground and benefit from a stable temperature of 5 degrees Centigrade, which in the winter saves energy.”

Moreover the house can also slide to its side; it’s just limited to 180 degrees by electrical cables and plumbing. But there is not yet an electric device for that and you have to use manpower.

He started in 1981, managing to get the basic mechanical parts for the price of metal junk. Friends helped him renovate an old spindle and clutch, the axle of the house.

Money? He can’t count how much. Time? He’s been building since 1981 and it’s still not finished yet. Plans? A ground heating exchanger.

Relaxation? Yes, this view is his favorite. The windows are a little above grass level, and you can see straight to the Krkonose mountains in the background.


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How do they cope with the damp proofing? Notice half house is submerged in ground. How they do that?

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I’ve always fancied a clear ceiling so you could see the night sky but there are birds…

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