Basilica of St. Lawrence | Photo by @overasheville
Let’s take it back to 1881 — that’s when Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino immigrated to the US to introduce his trademark tilework, creating landmarks all across the country. And we’re lucky enough to have several designs and structures created by the architect right here in Asheville.
Guastavino’s Asheville architecture
Guastavino made his way here in the early 1890s to work on the Biltmore Estate, where he contributed his signature tile vaulting (aka self-supporting arched ceiling) to several areas of the house. You can marvel at his geometric tiling on the ceilings surrounding the Winter Garden and in the estate’s indoor swimming pool in the basement.
Guastavino settled in Black Mountain in the mid-1890s and constructed his own Spanish-style estate, Rhododendron. In the 1940s, the house caught fire and, by the end of the decade, was ultimately torn down after being acquired by the now conference center and retreat, Christmount. You can take a self-guided or guided tour of the remains of the building to learn about how the estate looked and functioned when it was in its heyday.
The architect’s most notable local project, the Basilica of Saint Lawrence, was also his final project. The structure is the only basilica in all of WNC and strictly uses tile and other similar materials — no wood or steel here. To admire the building in person, you can take self-guided tours, offered Mondays-Thursdays.
Dive deeper into the life and work of the iconic architect at the “Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America’s Great Public Spaces” exhibit inside the newly opened Asheville Museum of History.
Curated by MIT Professor of Architecture John Ochsendorf, the exhibit outlines the timeline of the buildings designed and raised by Guastavino as well as the projects finished by his son, Rafael Jr., who carried on the Guastavino Company after his father’s death in 1908. Plus, you can see tiles, bricks, and other artifacts from the architect’s projects.
Venardos Circus | Friday, Nov. 17-Sunday, Nov. 19 | Times vary | Asheville Outlets, 800 Brevard Rd., Asheville | $16.95-$27.95 | Enjoy the last weekend of the Broadway-style, animal-free circus as you step under the big top for a dazzling experience.
ATLiens Comedy Showcase | Friday, Nov. 17 | 9-11 p.m. | Catawba Brewing Company South Slope, 32 Banks Ave., Asheville | $15 | Settle in for a night of laughs as some of the best comedians of Atlanta take the local stage.
Saturday, Nov. 18
Friendsgiving & Holiday Bazaar | Saturday, Nov. 18 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m. | Burton Street Community Center, 134 Burton St., Asheville | Free | Gather for good food, good company, and crafts from Burton Street’s Senior Elite Club.
Outlaw Sound Festival | Saturday, Nov. 18 | 5 p.m. | Revolve Gallery, 821 Riverside Dr., Unit 179, Asheville | $20 | Calling electronic and experimental music enthusiasts — this festival will feature a lineup of unique musical artists, wares, and a short film screening.
NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition | Saturday, Nov. 18 | 6-10 p.m. | Citizen Vinyl, 14 O’Henry Ave., Asheville | $30-$100 | Originally held in NYC’s Lincoln Center, the prestigious competition now welcomes its eight finalists to Asheville for an evening of song and connection.
Sunday, Nov. 19
Whimsical, Seasonal Wreath Making | Sunday, Nov. 19 | 2-4 p.m. | The Rabbit Hole, 9 State St., Asheville | $125 | Get creative with gathered and foraged items from the Flora Field and Farm to create your seasonal masterpiece.
Goldie & the Screamers Benefit Concert | Sunday, Nov. 19 | 4-7 p.m. | Wicked Weed Funkatorium, 147 Coxe Ave., Asheville | Free | Rock out at this concert to benefit the Asheville Firefighters Association Foundation — in response to the recent wildfires — + $1 from all beers will support these workers.
The City of Asheville has announced that four downtown parking garages will receive stages of improvements over the next two and a half years, starting with urgent repairs. Harrah’s Cherokee Center, Wall Street, Rankin Avenue, and Biltmore Avenue garages will get repairs like joint sealant + guard rail replacements and weatherproofing.
Local Rhonda Mapp has partnered with nonprofit Race to Feed and other sponsors to host a food drive at the Arthur Edington Center tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 18. The drive will serve 200 turkeys and 600+ hot meals and will include games, bounce houses, and music. (WLOS)
Biltmore Park Town Square is launching its holiday celebrations this weekend with the first Holiday Market on Sunday, Nov. 19. You can also stop by the Holiday Market on Sundays through Dec. 3, join the tree lighting on Saturday, Dec. 2 (featuring aerial performers, interactive arts + crafts, and more), and see a light display through Sunday, Dec. 31.
The annual Metro Economy Outlook, hosted by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County, will be held at the Omni Grove Park Inn on Wednesday, Dec. 13 with a keynote from author and international columnist John Manzella. Registration for the luncheon is required.
Buncombe County librarian Melisa Pressley won the Leadership Institute Award at the North Carolina Library Association Biennial Conference. In addition to the award, Pressley and local librarians Anna Booraem, Sarah Gransee, and Matt Phillips led presentations on their work in the County.
What’s better than getting an A+ on an exam? Future teachers getting A+ instruction from their university. That’s the rating UNC Asheville received from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), who gave the Education Department an A+ distinction for effective reading instruction methods. See why this is good for everyone.*
Need the perfect holiday gift for your dad, brother, husband, or boyfriend? This brand has you covered with all the gifts and stocking stuffers that men will actually use. (Plus, they’re all 25% off during the Black Friday Sale, happening now.)*
Between the stress of the holidays and the frequent gloominess of winter, this is a season when we could all benefit from self-care. Sure, you can go for a face mask and a bubble bath (a classic combo) — or you can go all out at the Winter Market + Solstice Self Care Soirée at NOHM Collective on Thursday, Nov. 30. Handmade goods from local makers, a MerTail release, and music can banish any seasonal blues.