Chateau Marmoset

A Communitarian Castle concept for a cooperative community development plan for Rainbow Ranch in Humboldt County


Antonio Gaudi.jpg (143203 bytes)

Park Guell by Antoni Gaudi, at Montana Pelada, Barcelona, Spain


Situated high on the ridge overlooking the hills and valleys below, Chateau Marmoset is a visible landmark for miles around yet it remains indivisible with the rocky prominence on which the organic castle has been built.

Massive redwood timbers supported by "shelf" walls of ferro-cement that have become plant-boxes so that all the wall surfaces of Chateau Marmoset are alive and green with plants and ivy and profusely rainbow colored as the flowers bloom in their scheduled times to keep the castle a spectacularly gorgeous sight to behold inside and out all through the year. With one road in and one road out the Chateau Marmoset community keeps the hills free of human development yet several hundred people live in close proximity to the natural world. Chateau Marmoset shows how human communities, clustered for all around resource use efficiency and well educated in ecological principles, can live in harmony with the life of the land.

Chateau Marmoset is a design concept for a cooperatively owned and managed eco-friendly Castle. The premise is that of all human architectural designs for multiple family dwellings throughout history there stands one common large structure design concept that never seems to offend human sensibilities- this is the Castle design. Apartment buildings come and go. Mansions come and go. But wherever castles are built they are usually cherished and kept for generations and generations, usually only falling to ruin by ancient warfare.

Castles are an integral part of our imaginary lives. They show up time and time again in our cultural traditions. Often communities will battle construction of new multiple apartment complexes citing offensive designs. But how many times have you heard people complaining about any castle on earth being out of place, an eyesore, etc.? For whatever reasons, castle designs are the most universally acceptable of large building designs in the world.

What we are changing is the ownership and occupancy of castle living. Instead of hereditary rulers or super wealthy ownership of castles we are promoting cooperative condominium-type ownership, perhaps along the lines of the Co-Housing ownership model. Of course, the whole idea of cooperative castle living is to share the expenses equally.

Our Chateau Marmoset will have no kings or dukes or Mr. Bigs with servants and underlings to do their bidding. No, each one shares in the ownership and management of the whole place on an democratic egalitarian basis. But instead of the royal family living in the upper rooms we have all residents living in the upper rooms which are equally divided among them into family or individual suites.

There would be a common main community kitchen where residents could rotate cooking shifts to relieve the individual of cooking every meal. There would a common library, a computer center, work studios, and all the accessories commonly found in large apartment complexes. Perhaps even cooperative transportation as well. The level of cooperative living would be determined by each cooperative castle resident association.

As for the actual eco-design of Chateau Marmoset, I haven't one, only elements that I would like to see incorporated into the castle design such as low-cost building techniques using ferro-cement and other alternative building materials.

One aspect I am intrigued with is interior landscaping using vegetation not only for aesthetic appeal but also for air cleansing and food production. Chateau Marmoset would have its own ecological system with animals and plants living in cooperative symbiosis with human beings. There are many, many innovations one can consider within the large scope of cooperative castle living.