The history of Samsel Architects begins with preservation and rehabilitation projects in downtown Asheville. One of our firm’s first projects was our own office building at 60 Biltmore Avenue in the late 1980s. Since then, we have completed over 30 downtown projects.
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 masonry walls. Balancing conservation with cost-effective solutions resulted in the juxtaposition of thoughtful new design elements to the concrete shell.
This building, originally built in the 1920s on Biltmore Avenue, got a major overhaul that included restoring the shell of the building, adding new apartments at the upper level and restaurant, retail and office spaces on the lower two levels.
Originally designed by R.S. Smith, the supervising architect for the Biltmore Estate, this former Elk’s home is one of downtown Asheville’s most distinctive buildings. The concrete/terracotta brick structure supplied challenges for cost-effective conversion into apartments and retail shops. Our design for a new rear stair and elevator tower produced a clearly contemporary structure, which also provided a separate entry for the upper level residences – leaving more flexibility for the development of the main and lower retail levels. The new structure was designed as a connector to a proposed future infill residential structure over the surface parking lot.
Originally built as a hotel in 1925, this building was left to ruin in the depression and finally rescued by Samsel Architects in the late 1980s. Now on the National Historic Registry, 60 Biltmore is home to Asheville’s popular City Bakery, American Folk Art gallery and upstairs the office and studio of Samsel Architects.
The Fine Arts Theatre was originally built in 1947 as a 400-seat, single screen movie theater. After closing in the mid-80s, it lay neglected for several years until we teamed with the owner to reopen it as an independent film theater in the 1990s. The rehabilitation of the historic building transformed the space into a two screen film and performance facility. The project received an award from the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County.
Asheville Wine Market is located at 65 Biltmore Avenue, this former carriage works, built in the 1890s, created the perfect backdrop for an upscale wine market with its massive stone walls and heavy timber structure with daylighting provided by sawtooth roof monitors. The custom designed wine racks and sales counter, hardwood floors, and dramatic lighting give this gourmet shop a welcoming atmosphere.