1/28/2016

2016 Tour of Chateau Pensmore is a mansion built for millennia

Steven T. Huff is completing his 72,000-square-foot concrete house near Highlandville, Mo. The exterior walls are 12 inches thick. The mansion has five floors, several elevators, 13 bedrooms —including five suites with kitchens — and 14 baths.


At 72,000 square feet, the all concrete Chateau Pensmore is being constructed in the hills South of Springfield, Mo, near Highlandville by owner Steven T. Huff. Upon completion, Huff says the house will withstand an earthquake, bomb blast and a direct hit from an F-5 tornado. Video by John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/home-garden/article51616315.html#storylink=cpy

Seen for miles in all directions, this mountain crescendo, one of the largest houses in America, reaches into the Ozark sky like a mix of French chateau, university building and something out of an Errol Flynn movie.
A herd of exotic hogs roaming the surrounding woods and rumors about secret tunnels just thicken the plot.
There’s still a lot of finish work to do. For now, owner Steven T. Huff, 64, a Missouri boy who made good first for the CIA and then for himself, is living in the part of the house that is done, but that’s 20,000 square feet, so he’s not exactly tripping over boxes.
His new place is called Chateau Pensmore.
What’s your house’s name?
Whatever you call it, the whole thing, swing set, shrubs and all, might fit in Pensmore’s grand ballroom, which measures 2,000 square feet with a 32-foot, 4-inch ceiling.
Oh, sorry, that’s 32 feet, four and a half inches, according to Huff.
He’s an astrophysicist. A serious man of decimal details and a neatly tucked plaid shirt. He didn’t build this place to throw Gatsby-like bashes. He says his house is very much a laboratory for environmental sustainability.
Pensmore, he swears, will be standing 2,000 years from now.
It’s made of concrete.
“If Romans used it back then and some of those buildings are still here, why can’t we use it now?” he asked. “Fire won’t burn it and termites won’t eat it.
“Yes, I think this house will be standing 2,000 years from now. Even then it would be hard to knock down.”
Huff says the house will withstand an earthquake, bomb blast and a direct hit from an F-5 tornado. Turrets reaching high from that Christian County mountaintop practically spit in the eye of a twister.
This is how homes, hospitals, schools and retirement facilities should be built, he says.
On a recent visit, when any of the 20 or so workers approached with a question about concrete molds, solar power or the heating and cooling system, Huff knew when, why, what it’s for, how many it takes and where it goes.
When not on site, he monitors construction by satellite feed.
But for all his technical acumen, he didn’t know what a drawing room was. And his house has one — his daughter Susan’s input. It’s across from the two-story library, down the hall from the kitchen with a pantry big enough to park a truck.
Apparently, Huff said, a drawing room is where women would withdraw when men went for brandy and cigars.
“Seems like it ought to be called a withdrawing room,” he said, allowing a hint of a smile.
That’s the mind of Steven Huff. Anything pretty about this house — that’s his wife’s and daughter’s doing. He got degrees in physics and astrophysics, served in Army intelligence, joined the CIA, developed software to analyze satellite imagery, sold a company for a gazillion dollars, retired and became an inventor.
Specifically, he jumped brain deep into energy efficiency and building durability.
He started with a barn in Virginia where he lives.
Then in 2009, he began work on Pensmore, which will serve as a family retreat and home for the Huff Family Foundation. He declined to divulge the cost of the home. He envisions scholars and “deep thinkers” using the library and many of the reading rooms.
The mere appearance and immensity spurred rumors in the area about fortress-like defenses, a secret network of tunnels and Huff’s clandestine past. One tale had Pensmore being used as the new seat of government after a takeover by the Illuminati.
Across the valley, neighbor Jeff Campbell sat on his back porch one night smoking a cigarette and looking at Pensmore when his dogs began to bark and he heard what sounded like a train.
“There’s no tracks around here and the noise was headed to the ridge over there at that house,” Campbell said. “I never did know what that was and never heard it again, but I sure heard it that night.”
Another man, Dean Meadows, who lives nearby on old family land, said: “Spend that much money, people are going to talk. Just stories.
“But people around here sure were curious seeing that thing go up.”




Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/home-garden/article51616315.html#storylink=cpy
READ MORE:
http://www.kansascity.com/living/home-garden/article51616315.html


The roof of the main house contains a solar panel array that Steven T. Huff stand next to on the 72,000 square foot Chateau Pensmore under construction on Wednesday, December 10, 2015 near Highlandville, Mo.

Steven T. Huff points out the stacks of batteries that will store electricity from solar panels on the roof for the 72,000 square foot Chateau Pensmore under construction on Wednesday, December 10, 2015 near Highlandville, Mo. The batteries were made in nearby Springfield, Mo.

An array of solar panels on the roof provide electricity for the house that is routed from batteries to this control room in the 72,000 square foot Chateau Pensmore under construction on Wednesday, December 10, 2015 near Highlandville, Mo.

The roof of the main house contains a solar panel array that Steven T. Huff stands next to on the 72,000 square foot Chateau Pensmore under construction on Wednesday, December 10, 2015 near Highlandville, Mo.











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