Samsel Architects Looks Back During Preservation Month
May is National Preservation Month and 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, a program that aimed to preserve and protect America’s historic resources. The history of Samsel Architects begins with preservation and rehabilitation projects, as well as civic leadership promoting preservation. We have a 30+ year history of revitalization projects in Asheville, including urban residences, retail, offices and galleries. One of the first preservation projects was 60 & 64 Biltmore Avenue, the location of our studio and nine local businesses. This project received a Griffin Award from the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County (PSABC) in 1989.
Above: 60 & 64 Biltmore Avenue before and after rehabilitation. National Register of Historic Places, 1979
Blue Spiral 1 at 38 Biltmore Avenue 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. The gallery recently commemorated its 25th Anniversary, celebrating timeless design combined with exemplary entrepreneurship.
Above: Blue Spiral 1 interior before and after rehabilitation. National Register of Historic Places, 1979
Another early Samsel preservation project was Richmond Hill Inn. Originally built in 1889, this Queen Anne style mansion was the private residence of Asheville Congressman, Richmond Pearson. The home, abandoned and dilapidated, was set to be demolished in the early 1980s until The PSABC spearheaded an effort to save the home. The mansion was moved and incorporated new additions to become the centerpiece of a luxury inn. This project won a Griffin Award from the PSABC in 1990.
Above: Richmond Hill Inn before and after rehabilitation. National Register of Historic Places, 1977
Built in 1914 and 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. Long abandoned, it was wrapped with an aluminum facade from the 1960s. Samsel Architects undertook a mixed-use rehabilitation plan in 1994, including a stair and elevator tower that provides easy access to the upper level apartments. This project won a Griffin Award from the PSABC in 1998.
Above: 55 Haywood before and after rehabilitation. National Register of Historic Places, 1979
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 Samsel Architects 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.
Above: 26 Lodge Street before and after rehabilitation. National Register of Historic Places, 1979
Samsel Architects remains committed to historic preservation and appreciating the places that are meaningful to our community. If you would like to learn more about Preservation month events happening locally, visit the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, or what’s happening nationally at savingplaces.org, a site run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.