For a few days the beach in the Brazilian city of Niteroi hosted the largest sandcastle ever built in recorded history. Artists Rusty Croft and Kirk Rademaker, internationally known as the Sand Guys, spearheaded the project to build the impermanent palace with construction equipment from world-renowned manufacturer Caterpillar Inc.

 For Croft, a sand sculptor for 18 years, the project wasn’t his first dalliance with fame. “Kirk and I had a TV show called Sand Masters and in one season we sculpted more than three million tonnes of sand,” he says. “Still, this is the tallest sandcastle we’ve ever built.”

 With a height of 12.59 metres, the sandcastle took nearly a week to construct using 20 truckloads of sand and construction equipment from their partner.

“The project was art and engineering combined,” says Rademaker. “The heavy machinery really saved a lot of time.”

 A team from Guinness World Records visited the sculpture and, after measuring it from ground to tip, the keepers of records confirmed it had claimed the title of world’s tallest sandcastle.

The Sand Guys, who have been hired to create sand sculptures for the likes of Yahoo!, Google and Facebook, feel that 2015 will be their busiest year yet. The duo are writing a book about their lives and work, and the projects keep on rolling in. But for Croft and Rademaker, they’re happiest to be sculpting the medium they love.

“This has been one of the major highlights of my life, not only being able to work on such an enormous scale with such an enigmatic medium, but sharing it with so many different cultures,” says Croft. “When people see us make something extraordinary out of something so ordinary, it instantly ignites their imaginations.”