SS Quad Corrections

I can’t promise if/when there will be further updates to the main project … but today, I have one for you.

As I’ve said, my Potter fandom has been at its lowest level, thanks to a certain author continuing to use her influence to hurt trans communities. Still … when some truly remarkable behind-the-scenes photos of the original quad recently surfaced, I knew I had some stuff to fix.

We’ve previously covered this courtyard in several posts:

The original quad had cloisters and sat significantly lower than the one found in later films (probably starting in GOF). Reference is extremely scant, so I’d made some best guesses. The chances of finding any further photos of the original were slim. After all, those cloisters had been chucked into a dumpster circa 2005, right?


Carrie Louise-Webb is a fabulous artist who helps with the yearly snowing and de-snowing of the Hogwarts miniature. As I previously pointed out, she posts insanely cool shots of the model on Instagram. Last year, she mentioned a second courtyard beneath the quad. I was stunned at the implications. The original hadn’t been ripped out—it had just been covered up by the new floor! Still, I didn’t dare hope that she’d be able to share photos.

But this year, she delivered. And let me tell you, if I’d been standing in the quad, my jaw would have dropped right through that false floor.

The original quad floor really is gone, but fortunately, that’s visible in Chamber of Secrets and a couple of construction photos. It’s the cloister walls that were a mystery, and, well … there they are! I was surprised to see that most of the arches were totally open, with no tracery to be seen. (I’d assumed they most likely had Gloucester Cathedral-like tracery.) There were a lot of other details to tweak or add too. So I got to work, also factoring in the elevation of the original quad floor from the cover of Harry Potter: The Blueprints book. (My estimate from COS photogrammetry was a little high.)

Slide back and forth to get a sense of my fixes. The old version is on the left; the newer, more accurate version is on the right.

Areas of remaining uncertainty in that render include that large window at the top center and the balustrade in the archway to the left. I have hope for photos of the former, since it still exists; the latter will be tough because it’s been gone for 15 years.

Another thing I adjusted was the large window at the top right corner of this next render:

That window was later filled in, presumably when the floor was raised. We now have confirmation for one of the reasons: The bottom was lower than the level of the new floor. If you look back at Carrie’s three photos, you can see a light gray area on the far right. I believe this is where the window was patched up with plaster. The part above the new quad floor was also painted to match the surrounding brick texture, but they evidently didn’t bother painting the part hidden below the quad floor. (Who could blame them?)

Anyway, the render below is what you’d see if you were lying on the grass of the quad, looking up. No changes visible here; just a cool view.

Note the headmaster’s office poking out over the marble staircase tower. Yep, Dumbledore has a view of the quad. In fact, it looks something like this:

Sorry about the blocky cliffs at the bottom. Maybe someday I’ll finish sculpting those.

I’ll sign off for today with a couple last looks down into the old quad, with the GOF quad for comparison on the right.

The GOF revision is certainly more sensible in terms of access, but the old version is more interesting, isn’t it?


15 thoughts on “SS Quad Corrections

  1. When I see the comparison images, I have to admit I miss the old cloister and fountain a lot, I don’t understand why they didn’t just raise all those things up to the new level (something like OOTP video game looks much better than nothing IMO). It wouldn’t look as blank and boring haha…
    Anyway the view from Dumbeldore’s office if kind cool!
    Thanks for sharing, I really hope you’ll find the will to continue this amazing project 🙂


  2. Hot damn that’s great to look at. Shame we can’t bring in an artificial sun to shed a bit more light on the details. I love the elevation shift so much, it adds so many more layers to the architecture.

    Looking at the one image we have of the courtyard floor that guy sent you, I think there’s a slight lip/step/rim at the edge where it meets the arches, but I’ll leave that up to you to judge:

    I’d love to see more of the Astronomy tower you’d been working on, but at your own pace – no rush.


    1. Aha! I’m not going crazy, I was right to at least some degree, you can see the steps between the cloister floor and the courtyard in Carrie’s images:

      What we don’t know is if the bottom step matches up with the floor or if the floor is itself a step down. I’d guestimate it’s at the level of that notch just under the steps?

      Considering how detailed this area is, I can’t help but wonder if a scene was intended at some point that never filmed or was cut. The filled in diagonal side is so strange too, I’d have thought it would just run the cloister all the way around – maybe it was a shortcut to make it seem from any distant shots like there was an actual recessed area with inner door without having to cut more holes when they decided they weren’t using the area for anything close.


      1. You’re 100% right about the steps…wow! I never noticed that. Look for another post soon. Thank you! (And yeah, I get really curious about areas like this. So many details that literally never showed up in the films…)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad to help. 🙂

        It also looks like the archways are slightly thicker than the buttresses, and have bricks lining the curve of the arches perpendicular to the main wall bricks, don’t know enough about 3D modelling to be sure if the latter’s a skinning thing over a modelling thing though. I should probably stop staring at the same pictures for so long but I just can’t help it!


  3. Hey Joe, I’ve followed your project for a few years now and I’m glad you’re back! These images are incredible since there are finally references for one of my favorite and most mysterious parts of the SS castle. The only thing I can think of more mysterious than this is the inside of the courtyard in the SS training grounds tower, but that likely had no details since it was based on the real location at Alnwick and that set doesn’t fit the model anyway. I’ve actually recreated Hogwarts myself in minecraft based on the SS castle, and although the project is asleep now, your posts have been a huge reference for me! If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link –

    Liked by 1 person

    1. [stares] How did you get the Alnwick courtyard inside the TGT? I’ve had such trouble trying to reconcile it on my map project.


      1. I didn’t. I basically copied the area the scene there was shot in at Alnwick and tried to squeeze it inside the tgt (it doesn’t really fit). As for the stuff above that since obviously the tgt is much taller than the structure at alnwick, I just copied windows and features from other parts of the castle.


      2. Have you got a bird’s eye view of that part of your build to hand? I’m really curious about the crowbarring you’ve pulled off tiger that in there.


      3. Sure. As I mentioned it doesn’t really fit so it is shaped kind of weird. Additionally the rest of the castle is built at a 2:1 scale compared to the player but I had to make this courtyard slightly smaller to get it to fit inside the tower. Alnwick itself is also built very organically with lots of weird angles so its not perfect but I did the best I could and it was definitely the hardest part and the sloppiest part of this project. Anyway here is the image you asked for –

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I really admire your work!

    I’ve also been obsessed with Harry Potter since childhood, and I’ve always wanted Hogwarts to be a reality. Once in my childhood, visiting a friend, I saw him modeling something in the 3ds max and I also wanted to try it. Subsequently, it fascinated me so much that I chose 3d as my profession, and began to realize my dream – to create a detailed model of the castle and surroundings.

    I’m still at an intermediate stage of work, and my castle mostly consists of low-detail blocks. I don’t run my own blog, but I recently posted my cinematics on UE for Christmas.

    I invite you to watch:


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