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Sapient House
Marge: Hi Ultrahouse!
Ultrahouse: Greeting acknowledged.
The Simpsons, "Treehouse of Horror XII: House of Whacks"

When a house is alive and has a mind of its own, and can think and act independently. The reasons for this can vary from the house being haunted, to the house being robotic. The house may try to kill its owners or may be very helpful with chores. It's usually able to speak, but it doesn't have to.

If it's robotic it may have been made to serve its tenants and will make its owners breakfast and dinner and open doors for them. It can also go horribly wrong. Which it does a lot.

Different from Smart House in that it must be completely sapient and it doesn't have to be AI that makes the house sapient.

In the case that the house is haunted, whatever is haunting the house must be one with the house. They cannot simply inhabit the house.

Compare with Sapient Ship. Subtrope of Genius Loci. AI examples may overlap with Smart House.


Examples

Anime
  • The Puppetmon arc of Digimon Adventure ends with Puppetmon using his powers to bring his mansion to life as a fighting machine. Kind of a wooden Humongous Mecha.

Film
  • Monster House is a perfect haunted house example of this.
  • Burnt Offerings, which has a dilapidated house kill people in order to acquire the energy necessary to repair itself.
  • In the Sci Fi Channel original movie Habitat, a scientist's experiments in finding a more habitable place for humans to live turns his house into a huge jungle, and then more or less a house-shaped monster that is willing to defend its inhabitants against intruders.

Literature
  • Nina Kiriki Hoffman's novels A Stir of Bones, A Red Heart of Memories, and Past the Size of Dreaming feature a magical (and benevolent) sapient house. It's haunted, but the ghost is an entirely separate entity from the intelligence of the house itself.
  • The Amityville Horror house is sometimes interpreted as this. The below Simpsons example is based on it.
  • In The Neverending Story, the House of Change is as instrumental in Bastian's recovery as Madam Eloya and Yor.
  • The Shivers novel The Haunting House deals with one of these.
  • The Wizard Tower in Septimus Heap is described as a quasi-living object.

Live-Action TV

Mythology

Tabletop Games
  • In the original 1E AD&D module, "I6: Ravenloft", one of the towers in Strahd's castle is alive and will try to knock heroes off its stairs or strike them with the halberds mounted along its walls.

Video Games
  • In The 11th Hour, sequel to The 7th Guest, the Stauf Manor was retconned into being both sapient and evil.
  • RuneScape has the Dominion Tower.

Web Comics

Web Original
  • Something Awful: Dungeons & Dragons: The party encounters one fairly early on, which they find out is called Gwendolyn. It alternates between hating them (trapping Joey briefly) and helping them (killing the Doppelganger which had been troubling the party and generally responding positively to Bananaramawicz's attempts at diplomacy).

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons:
    • The original "Treehouse of Horror" episode has a segment in which the Simpsons go to live in a haunted house which can talk.
    • "Treehouse of Horror XII" has a segment, "House of Whacks", featuring a Smart House and parodying 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • In Invader Zim, this happens when GIR gets his mind fused with the house's computer and goes on a rampage through town (with the house transformed into a dog-like mecha) for TACOS. Otherwise, the house computer is an AI itself.
  • In one episode of Ugly Americans, the wizard Leonard is assigned to talk down a haunted house into calming its emotional, tenant-killing behavior.

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