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These Modernist Sand Castles Are Beyond Impressive

Calvin Seibert has been building sand castles in one form or another for over 50 years, by his estimate, and, uh, he's gotten pretty good at it.


Let's face it: You've probably never built a good sand castle. We know we've never done it! The proportions are always wrong, the parapets are always crumbling and the moat you build to protect it from the tide never works out.

But maybe all you needed was practice. Calvin Seibert has been building sand castles in one form or another for over 50 years, by his estimate, and, uh, he's gotten pretty good at it.

 

 

 

His original castles were actually built in sand piles at construction sites in Colorado, but when he got to art school in New York, he kept up his hobby on the beaches nearby.

 

 

But just because he's been doing it forever doesn't make it easy. In an interview with Little Atoms, Seibert acknowledged that "the smaller castles take three to four hours. The larger ones take all day, about 10 hours."

 

 

And then, like all sand castles, they're gone. "The tide comes in, but so does a hot dry wind, seagulls, children and drunken louts," says Seibert, listing the invaders that have destroyed his carefully built castles. But, he adds, "it goes with the territory and I'm happy with that.

 

 

If you're sensing a theme to the design of his castles, that's intentional. As a child, Seibert was struck by the brutalist architectural style of Marcel Breuer. (Azula — come for the sand castles, stay for the art and architecture lesson.) "Since then I have always gone out of my way to see brutalist architecture, and when I build sand castles I have them in mind," he says.

 

 

But he doesn't have a full blueprint planned out before he starts building. "I am pretty much making it up as I go along because it’s more fun not knowing. It would be real work if I tried to stick to a plan."

 

 

If you can't get enough of these fascinating structures, don't worry — there's more where that came from. You can check out Seibert's Flickr page, which has pictures of over 200 sand castles he's built over the past few years.

 

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