House of the Week: New England Castle (VIDEO)

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112 Trapelo Rd, Lincoln MA
For sale: $1.295 million

The castle rising between the trees in Lincoln, MA may look medieval, but the technology behind it is anything but that.

Designed by a laser scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the home started out as a model on a light table. A group of scientists studied the light and shade areas on the house year-round.

“They were really trying to think about energy consumption,” said real estate agent Tom Kennedy, who shares the listing with Julie Harrison, both of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Their study proved that half of the building heating needs would be provided by the sun.”

While passive solar technology is relatively well known today, when the home was built in 1980, the technology was radically new. An article in the Concord Journal published around the same time called the home, designed with both energy conservation as well as aesthetics in mind, as “one of the first, if not the first, structure of its kind.”

An enormous window floods the castle with light, which is absorbed by a ceramic floor and 4-inch thick wall. Stained class windows salvaged from a church add more visual interest.

What’s most unique about this is that the technology is housed within a structure that looks like something out of the 13th century, or at least out of 19th century New England.

“They referenced old homesteaders’ grain silos and the Shakers’ round barns,” explained Kennedy. “The Shakers’ philosophy behind the round barn was that there was no wasted space and corners.”

The round turret holds a spiral staircase leading to a bedroom and office. The entire house spans 3,292 square feet, with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, and sits on nearly 2 acres.

Kennedy says it’s perfect that a home like this is in Lincoln. Near both MIT and Harvard, the property fits in an area — a “neighborhood of brainiacs” — that has an entire society dedicated to modern architecture.

According to current mortgage rates, a monthly payment on the home would be $4,495, assuming a 20 percent down payment on a 30-year mortgage.

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