Without changing the boxy shape drastically I was able to design a structure that was
very castle like in appearance. Six turrets of varying heights and sizes, the addition of
another floor level with ramparts and crenulations turned the ‘ugly box’ design into a
quaint castle design.
Traditional castles are built of mortar and stone. I design super efficient buildings. Is
there a way to meld the two ideas together? The answer is a big affirmative “yes”.
After doing a lot of research I decided that this had to be a very solid building. Standard
wood construction would work but it didn’t seem to have the feeling of mass that I felt a
castle deserved. I had used an ICF (insulated concrete form) material on a
foundation a few years previously and was excited about its possibilities. Yes it can be used above
grade, and yes it makes a very massive sturdy building. I choose Arxx (formerly Blue
Maxx) as the ICF to work with. The blocks (48”x 16”x 12”) are like giant Lego blocks.
Pile one on top of another tap down until they lock together and soon you have a wall.
OK, its not quite that easy, the blocks have an eight-inch space in the centre that is to be
filled with reinforcing steel and concrete. The 15-mm. rebar is installed after each new
level of blocks is put in place and runs both horizontally and vertically. At each floor
level everything was braced up and the concrete was poured. Some of the walls were
almost 14 feet high and it was a little bit nerve wracking as the concrete was pumped into
them, but we have had no blowouts or other problems so far. - As of May 2004 the main
structure is finished and only the turrets and crenulations have to be formed and poured.
When all the structural framework is completed we will begin the process of finishing the building
so it really looks like a castle and not a funny shaped white box in the trees. The outside
will be mostly finished in stone - some natural and some cultured – and the crenulations
and upper turrets will be in exposed aggregate concrete.
To have a look at a few more construction photos click here .
Inside on the main floor will be the gallery and great hall, which will be finished to look
like a late medieval hall. The lower floor will hold the studio, shop and storage areas and
will be finished with standard modern construction techniques, although it will have a
dungeon. The top floor will most likely be finished in a mix of modern (for convenience)
and medieval (for atmosphere) and become a suite or possibly a bed and breakfast (doesn’t the thought of staying in a castle sound great).