Wisconsin Masonry Alliance- Excellence in Masonry 2012 Award Winner- Best of Show and Best of Concrete Masonry
The Mars’ Cheese Castle is a family-owned Wisconsin
landmark business owned by the Ventura and Wehrmeister
families and was established in 1947. Their building was
to be torn down due to the I-94 freeway expansion near
Kenosha, Wisconsin. MSI General Corporation was contracted to design and build them their new facility.
The program was simple: Build a veritable castle that their
parents, the founders of the business, would have been
proud of. Such a challenging, but also rewarding and
extremely fun project does not come along very often for
an architect, so MSI General relished the opportunity.
MSI General needed to find a concrete masonry unitthat was versatile enough to create the effect necessary to pull off the medieval appearance. County Materials’ Castle Rock concrete block was a perfect fit. With its split face cut stone appearance, it became the primary building material for the project. An oversized white split face veneer masonry unit was chosen for the base of the building to help create the right scale for this design.
Several other “castle-like” elements incorporated into the
• Pre-colored Horizon block accent ledge between the base of the building and the Castle Rock CMU
• Corbelled masonry arches beneath masonry embattlements at the tops of the walls
• A stamped and colored concrete walkway with a wood board pattern and steel chains to simulate a drawbridge
• Precast concrete arches at the entries
• Arched aluminum windows
• Precast concrete bench supports mimicking the arches of the windows
• Hefty wood timber framing at the benches, window canopies, and the Beer Garden Arbor
All of these innovative materials and distinctive design
elements helped create a robust and majestic building
image, still within eyesight of the I-94 corridor, beckoning
travelers (and locals too!) to come and explore all that
the new Mars’ Cheese Castle has to offer.