“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” — Henry David Thoreau
Those words, from one of history’s most celebrated dreamers, ring uncannily true in the case of a Seattle software engineer by the name of Mike Draghici.
His lofty goal? Delivering the world’s first full-scale, 3D-printed castle — and now he’s looking for help building its foundations.
Draghici just launched Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns to raise the necessary funds to build a 3D-printed replica of Bran Castle (often called Dracula’s Castle) on his 40-acre property in Washington state’s wine country.
Draghici was born in Romania and raised in the U.S. He wanted to incorporate the Dracula legend into the project, as a nod to his heritage.
“We named [the estate] Vampire Hills, me being from Romania and Transylvania I wanted to bring over the vampire thing,” he said.
Draghici is working with Andrey Rudenko, a Minnesota-based engineer who built a 3D concrete printer capable of constructing entire architectural projects.
Rudenko’s backyard castle caught Draghici’s attention. He wanted to know if the machine could, conceivably, build a larger castle. To his satisfaction, Rudenko confirmed the project was possible.
From there, Draghici reached out to his family in Romania and they were able to track down the plans to Bran Castle. With the plans in hand, Draghici and Rudenko began mapping out the project.
“We have full 3D rendering models of the castle,” he said. “We, basically, just have to start putting together the funding and talking to the county and the local community.”
If the project comes to fruition, Draghici’s long-term vision for the property is an upscale estate winery that hosts weddings, events, and special guests. The property is already home to two rental cabins, which would remain as part of the facility. He even has labels for the wine in mind — Blood Moon for reds, Thirst for whites.
Of course, Draghici recognizes it may be years before breaking ground on the project and there are still variables in flux.
“This isn’t going to be an overnight thing … definitely, I’m open to help,” he said. “I’ve never built a castle before so I can’t go up there with a shovel and start digging away. It’s going to take a lot of people.”