Castle Houses and Tilt-up Stone Dwellings

Yesterday we toured Henry Mercer’s astounding concrete feat: Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, PA. You must go!

Close up of Fonthill Castle Concrete Dormer

Concrete Dormer

Closeup of Fonthill Castle Tower.

Concrete Tower

Although we deal with masonry topics every day, constructing an entire house seems overwhelming. What also comes to mind is what industrious individuals are doing in the 21st century.

Inspiring is how two brothers built stone dwellings. Whereas one used the slipform method, the other applied a tilt-up technique by “pouring stone walls flat on the ground and setting them in place with a crane” (Elpel, 2015, para. 5).

An enterprising artisan expounded in a series of videos about tilt-up constructing his very own castle (thecastleproject). We didn’t see it finished, but being in the building supply business, the materials and tools he used interested us.

Following the stages of these masonry projects is fascinating and brings new meaning to the idiom: Your home is your castle.


Elpel, Thomas J. (2015 [Date of web page]). Tilt-up stone masonry: A technological lift to the ancient art of stone work. Sustainable building and living: Resources for building earth-friendly, low-cost, high-efficiency homes. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from

thecastleproject. (2010, March 31). Tilt up monolithic stone masonry explained – The Castle Project [Video file, 5:43, YouTube]. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from