Straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale, construction on this fantastical castle on Red Mountain in Rougemont, North Carolina began in 2000. Its creator, local architect and sculptor Robert Mihaly, known for his work at Washington National Cathedral and Duke University, built the fanciful structure to serve as his studio and home.
The design appears to be inspired by Central and Eastern European architecture, complete with onion domes, 18 pinnacles, a turret and even a smattering of mean-looking gargoyles. Although Mihaly managed to complete much of the exterior, he was forced to put work on hold following his divorce from his wife and the promising self-build project sadly descended into a state of disrepair.
With the interior spaces far from complete, the modern castle was reduced to ruins and quickly became a haven for graffiti artists. The wooden floors are rotting and debris blown in from the broken windows covers the floor. Mihaly has not given up, however. Determined to fulfil his dream, the artist started a fund-raiser to kick-start the project in 2014.
However, the artist has his work cut out for him. While the castle still remains in a state of disrepair, Mihaly clearly means business. He has closed off the property to intruders by installing a cattle gate. Castle Mont Rouge is now private property and remodelling of the interior is well underway. Mihaly has plans to transform the building into an events space or even a wedding venue.
Photographed by the artist in the snow, it certainly looks like an impossibly romantic setting for a marriage celebration. The artist says despite the building’s state of disrepair, people are constantly dropping by, trying to catch a glimpse of the unusual building. Castle Mont Rouge has even been named the second-best secret vacation spot in the state, according to a recent survey. So he’d better hurry up and finish those renovations!