Discover The Fairy Valley Clay Castle from Transylvania
Have you ever considered giving up on everything and chasing your dreams? Have you ever imagined that happy endings exist even beyond fairytales and if you believe enough in your dreams, at some point, you might end up with have a castle?
1. Once upon A time...
This story seems to be a Romanian fairy tale, except the fact that such a castle actually exists and thus we have our happy ending. Approximately 50 km from Sibiu, you arrive at Porumbacu de Sus and in the Fairy Valley you will find The Clay Castle – right at the heart of the mountains, waterside, surrounded by nature. So Transylvania is not only the land of vampires, but also a utopian land of fairies. This is already a classic image that seems from another world. Accompanied by his family, Razvan Vasile – castle owner – decided to leave his advertising job and the turbulent setting of Bucharest in 2015, to find peace in the middles of nature. Chasing fairy tales, they dreamt about building a small castle from stone, wood, clay and straw, expecting to share their happiness with other people. The idea of leaving Bucharest began to develop in his mind and like most of our dreams develop during childhood, Razvan was no exception. His Transylvanian mother and the vacations spent in Fagaras, made it natural for him to imagine a quiet castle life, right in the middle of nature. Between the years 2005 and 2006 he started looking for land around Sibiu and by 2006 he already found it: 8000 sqm in Porumbacu de Sus, the location of his Clay Castle. When you have the land, you might think that it is enough to clapp your hands 3 times and you will have your castle. But, this is not how the things are going and the road to this imposing building was long and difficult.
photo source: Pinterest.ro
"I have long been considered the idea of leaving Bucharest. Due to my mother’s Transylvanian descendence, I spent my summer vacations at Mandra, in Fagaras area."– Razvan Vasile
2. Water, straw and... Clay Castle
For completing the 10 rooms, of which 4 are even small apartments with inner staircase, 5 architects were hired for this project, until finding the perfect one, able to achieve their dreams and become part of the story. Ileana Mavrodin, the architect of Clay Castle in Porumbacu de Sus, has a story about crossing her paths with those of Vasile family. She was born in Timisoara, spent her childhood in an apartment and was always dreaming about a holiday home in the middle of nature. After graduating the Architecture University in Timisoara, she moved to Canada. Her passion for architecture and conventional materials remained deep within her soul, because she worked as a graphic designer in Canada – a job that confinded her happiness by settling her with an office and four walls. Coming back to Romania 2004 for a small vacation, she was confronted with destiny, shaped as a one-way ticket, only to find happiness in the end. Our consumer-based society generates an impulsive need of comin back and reconnecting with nature, thus improving Ileana Mavrodin’s experience of working with the clay. The perfect land and her inner being lead to an experiment. A house reconnected with nature, built of clay and recyclable materials, including bottles, for creating a specific shape – the walls of a fairy tale house.
"I am sad because our universities still do not focus enough on building techniques; there is an interest for that, but still it does not match the demand. There is a specific demand for this architecture and it is not mainstream, but it is there; people have a desire for it, yet few of them are actually able to complete the projects. They are some passionate architects, but there are not enough of them."– Ileana Mavrodin
photo source: Pinterest.ro
This was the moment when fairy tale became reality and clay turned into a house. By investigating further this material, she laid the foundations for an activity aimed at reintroducing traditional technologies with ancient sustainable resources for building or rebuilding houses in the lovely Romania. It was precisely this moment when their paths collide. Razvan needed an architect to understand his dream, besides full support and know-how for these natural materials.
Based on a project designed by architect Ileana Mavrodin, a team of craftmen and workers from Maramures worked together for building this clay castle. The architect Ramona Pop was in charge with interior decoration. The robust foundation was made of concrete and natural stone, the structure is made of wood and walls are made from cob – a mixture of soil, water, straw, clay and sand, having the roof made of spruce shingles. Only natural materials were used for building this dream castle. Even the plaster was made from lime and sand, while towers were produced from flagstone reinforced with lime and sand.
photo source: pierdutiinvacanta.ro
“I dreamt about a fairy tale house and I wanted it to be something else, completely different." – Razvan Vasile.
Probably one of the most interesting architectural projects, based on a dream and nature’s gift for us. Apart from its infinite aesthetic dimension, The Fairy Tale Clay Castle is an enchanting world where you can enjoys some moments of complete silence and just like Vasile family, you can leave the noise behind. Besides the fairy tale look, this building is an eco-friendly space made only from natural materials, including decorative natural stone for interior decoration projects, reconnecting you with the nature. In terms of building itself, it is the living proof that you only natural materials for building a house, sort of nature’s gift for us. Currently, The Clay Castle is only available for visits, since it has not enter the touristic circuit yet. Next year it will be ready to accomdate its guests and car acces in the yard will be only permitted for their guests. Surely, Clay Castle will turn into a benchmark for architects (proving that natural stone decoration projects are the most valuable) and also for tourists, ready to enjoy a fairy tale world.
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