It’s easy to get distracted by a lot of the different elements of this build, with the exception of the distinctive curved roofs – THE MOONSTONE PROJECT stands out because of its beautiful crafted 9m high Cotswold stone walls. You can hate the design, but you simply can’t question the craftsmanship of the stone masonry.
Brian Godwin Construction (www.godwinconstruction.co.uk) carried out all of the stone work, including dry stone walling and gabion baskets. All 3000 tonnes of back fill material was quarried from site, only the facing stone came from our closet quarry just 6 miles down the road from The Cotswold Natural Stone company (//www.cotswoldnaturalstone.co.uk), as tests on our stone proved it was too soft and prone to erosion.
The base of these walls are 1m thick with a 3 degree pitch – battered like the Inca walls of Peru, this meant setting up huge angled profiles over a steeply sloping site. With the house arranged over 7 levels this wasn’t an easy task – dealing with a natural stone product of course also produces many problems especially when very accurate stone lintels have been manufactured off site. On average in a typical day 45 tonnes of stone was laid by Bran Godwin and his 4 other Stone masons, while a telescopic handler two large Euromix Silo’s and far too many 4 am starts for me, tried to keep them busy through out the day. The infill stone that makes up the thickness of the wall after the 400m of URSA extruded polystyrene, had to be sorted into three different sizes by hand. In a typical day 28No. 1.5 tonne bags were sorted, delivered and laid while a further 4No. 1.5 tonnes of facing stone were laid.
I can personally say that I have handled every single piece of stone in the walls of Moonstone.
Brian Godwin’s team were simply brilliant – we had an incredibly hot 14 week period (110 degrees was recorded on site – the South facing site and pale coloured stone amplified the hot days) while all 3,500 tonnes of Cotswold stone were laid – no mean feat when the average age of those Stone masons was over 60 years old.
Even the huge 2 tonne stone lintels from Hampton Stone didn’t damper their spirits. As is traditional with Cotswold stone walling, all the joints were mortar joints wee raked backed and dried, so that all the pointing works could be carried out in one day with a consistent mix and colour – although the Euro Silo’s proved we never got a colour change it simply wasn’t worth taking any risks.