News + Inspiration

Through the Years: Preservation Projects

2020 marks thirty-five years for our firm. Since our founding, we have worked on hundreds of projects of all kinds throughout the Southern Appalachian region. In honor of the anniversary, we are reviewing the evolution of our projects since opening our doors in 1985. Today we take a glimpse at a handful of our historic preservation projects in downtown Asheville.

Center for Craft

The Center for Craft headquarters is in a historic four-story brick structure that was built in 1912. We worked with Center for Craft to renovate the building, maintain its historic certification and highlight the beauty of its existing structural systems. Breathing new life into three of the building’s four stories, we sought to bring attention to new modern elements while retaining the layered history of the building’s concrete and steel construction. This project earned a Griffin Award from the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County in 2020. You can see more images of this project here.

Center for Craft’s building, located at 67 Broadway Street, has been a distinctive form in the streetscape since it was built in 1912. The first image was taken in the 1960s and the second, taken after recent renovations were complete, still celebrates the original facade.

60 Biltmore Avenue

This long-abandoned building on Biltmore Avenue was severely dilapidated when our studio’s founding Principal, Jim Samsel, began the multi-year process of renovation in the late 1980s. Windows were broken or boarded up, decades of paint covered the original brick facade, and the interior was piled high with collapsed areas of both roof and floor. Despite all the negative, the building was completely restored and has since been home to a myriad of Asheville businesses. Our studio has been located on the upper level since 1987. Since the building is located in a National Register historic district, it was rehabilitated to the US Secretary of Interior’s Standards and earned a Griffin Award from the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County in 1989.

Before and after the building was renovated in the 1980s.

Blue Spiral 1

Blue Spiral 1 is an art gallery at 38 Biltmore Avenue that won us another Griffin Award in 1991. We teamed with John Cram, owner of the gallery, and designed a full interior renovation and meticulous rehabilitation of the beautiful 1920s storefront building. One of the significant features of this renovation is the steel staircase that stretches three floors and allows natural light to flood the building. You can see more images of this project here.

Blue Spiral architectural renovation project

The interior of the gallery before and after the building was renovated.

27 Biltmore Avenue

This building, originally built in the 1920s on Biltmore Avenue, got a major overhaul that included restoring the shell of the building. The building, which used to house Hannah Flanagan’s Irish Pub, now holds a restaurant, several retail and office spaces, and private apartments. The street-level tenant, Manicomio Pizza, asked us to develop the outdoor patio into a space for their patrons to enjoy al fresco dining.

27 Biltmore restaurant in WNC architectural renovation project

The exterior of the building before we started our renovation in 2015 and after. The exterior maintains much of it’s original charm.

Southern Highland Craft Gallery

The Biltmore-Oteen Bank building was built in 1928 in Biltmore Village and features a trapezoidal plan with a 25 foot high ceiling. After years of neglect, the building was purchased by the Southern Highland Craft Guild and we helped them transform the building into a premiere craft gallery. The rehabilitation effort included plaster repair (from years of water damage), reconstruction of the trademark Palladian windows and restoration of exterior finishes. This project won a Griffin Award from the Preservation Society in 2014. You can see more images of this project here.

Southern Highland Craft Guild, an architectural renovation project in Biltmore Village

The exterior of the building before we started our renovation in 2014 and after. Much of the restoration work was on the inside, while on the outside, we worked to preserve the original Palladian windows.

You can see the previous 35th Anniversary posts here:
Hospitality & Education
Residences 1
Residences 2