Modeling Medieval British Castles

Students in ARTHIST 290 and 89S The Medieval Castle in Britain were tasked with creating 3D models of real or imaginary medieval British castles as part of their final projects. Each class was divided into teams of 3 students, each being assigned a role in the project: building manager, architect, or historian. The building manager researched the building process and economic and environmental aspects of building a medieval castle. The historian gathered information on the history of the castle and its family/families. The architect built the castle according to both the building manager and the historian’s research. The students in these classes had very little or no 3D modeling experience when they entered the class. The architects created their models in SketchUp under the guidance of Andrea Giordano and Cosimo Monteleone (University of Padua) and Hannah Jacobs (Wired! Lab, Duke University).

The following are three of the models created by the students:


Norwich Castle

This model is based on the stone keep of Norwich Castle, built between 1095-1110. Norwich Castle was chosen because of its intricate design – note the copious blind arcading, crenellations, and fake portcullises.


Faversham Castle

Our team consisted of John, our architect, Luke, our engineer, and Yifan, the building manager/historian. We decided to construct a nonexistent but historically accurate castle and chose Faversham, England for its location. It is an Edwardian castle of the mid fourteenth century.


Barmouth Castle

Barmouth Castle is a fictitious castle that we created to show our knowledge and understanding of the architecture and history of medieval castles in Great Britain. It was built by Edward I from 1282 to 1287 in Barmouth, Wales, as part of his campaign to conquer and control the Welsh people. It is grand in size and concentric in design, drawing inspiration from Harlech Castle, Beaumaris Castle, and Conwy Castle. Like all castles of this time period, it was built to show the king’s power and wealth.