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The history of Oakley 1 Reply

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History. Last reply by Sheilah Jastrzebski May 16.

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Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Award-winning novelist captures fleeting youthby Rob NeufeldAnother Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Amistad: HarperCollins, Aug. 9, 2016)            The amazing, unusual thing about Jacqueline Woodson’s new novel, “Another Brooklyn,” I realize as it sinks in, is that the initial mystery—that is, why the narrator can’t…See More
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A rare interview, a story about an acid plant

A worker’s view of tannery work in Rosmanby Rob Neufeld             Haskell Luker was 11 when the Flood of 1916 caused his dad, Americus Alfred Luker, to leave the farm where he worked and take a job with an acid (tannin) plant in Pisgah Forest.             “Daddy was going down there to make big…See More
Aug 15
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Interview with Chitra Divakaruni about Before We Visit the Goddess

A talk with Chitra about her benediction of a novelby Rob Neufeld             Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, one of our country’s most engaging and inventive novelists, first came to this region six years ago for Western Carolina University’s Spring Literary Festival.  That’s when I got to know her and began…See More
Aug 14
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Gary Carden's Outlander--about Kephart--at UNCA July 31--with author

Is Carden's Kephart play controversial?Gary Carden's play, "Outlander," receives a "staged reading" in the Reuter Center, UNC Asheville, 2 p.m., Sun., July 31.  Carden will be on hand to discuss the play with the audience.  It is a controversial play in that it has been criticized by the descendants of Horace Kephart who felt that the play "demeaned" Kephart.  "Ironically," Carden says, "my original purpose in writing the play was to 'redeem' Kephart. who has often been denounced by the…See More
Jul 29
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Bring Back the Game

BRING BACK THE GAME     Anna and I basically spent a month in Asheville, NC this summer. We returned to Georgia a few days ago, and while we were glad to get home, as we got out of the car, we were met with the suffocating heat that I still have not become acclimated to even though we have lived in Middle Georgia for over 30 years. Every plant in our backyard had dried up and only the belligerent squirrels had survived the summer’s inferno.      We had a great time in Asheville. We visited our…See More
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Amy Ammons Garza to Present Her Memoir at City Lights Bookstore

August 6, 2016 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Amy Garza will be presenting her new memoir, Appalachian Storyteller in a Feed Sack Dress, at City Lights Bookstore onSaturday, August 6th at 3 p.m. Follow Amy as she tells the story of her life as she lived it, each chapter being a story in itself. These are the compelling stories of a mountain girl who found the courage she needed in her life to listen and retell the stories of her family and heritage.  Amy Garza was born and raised in Western North Carolina, which leads her into her many…See More
Jul 16

Ornament in Asheville—a pictorial survey

by Rob Neufeld

 

            In the urban renewal era, Asheville followed the modern trend away from ornament in architecture.  The Akzona Building (now the Biltmore Building) and the Northwestern Bank Building (now BB&T) preferred exteriors that expressed structure rather than symbolism.

 

(Photo 1.  Biltmore Building and BB&T.)

 

             In the postmodern era—that’s today, still—ornament has returned in two ways: with simplified references to historical motifs; and with new age, art-nouveau-like fantasias.

            The significance of the old ways is that people who had cared about style had connected to the classical and medieval concepts of a golden age.  The Grove Arcade, for example, puts on the clothing of a Venetian palace.  The misnamed griffins at the south entrance are Venetian winged lions.  They don’t have an eagle’s beak and talons.

            But Grove might be considered postmodern, too, in the way he combined and simplified styles.  His Italian plasterers had at their disposal a Sears catalog-type of architectural options.

            The window arches on the top level, for instance, are French.  The heart motif in the cornice atop the first floor balconies are of no classical origin.  And, of course, the most prominent feature, “GROVE,” is pure modern empire.

 

(Photo 2.  Grove Arcade emblems.)

 

(Photo 3.  S&W Cafeteria entrance detail.)

           

            The Art Deco ornamentation on Douglas Ellington’s S&W Cafeteria, a building contemporary with the Grove Arcade, is truer to sources, and incorporates into its vocabulary Aztec, Egyptian, and machine age imagery and style.  

 

(Photo 4.  Drhumor building  east side detail.)

 

           Just down Patton Ave. from the S&W in Asheville is the Drhumor Building, now the law offices of McGuire, Wood & Bissette.  Its frieze, carved into stone by Biltmore Estate stonecarver Frederic Miles, reveals an artist’s freedom in incorporating classical motifs—the Greek acanthus leaf; the Roman half-figure; the Renaissance mask—into a dynamic, narrative design.

 

 

            The Biltmore House’s French Renaissance influence on local architecture, along with its English cottage and Arts and Crafts influence in Biltmore Village, are major reference points for Asheville.  Builders and designers in the region know, when they create ornament, what local traditions they are tapping.

            The courtyard at the south wing of the Biltmore House features a number of richly decorated columns, including one that features French fleur-de-lis.

 

(Photo 5.  Biltmore House decorated column.)

(Photo 6.  Grand Bohemian column capital.)

 

            One of the newest ambitious uses of decoration is evident at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village.  The columns in the lobby, for example, combine a Germanic woodcarving style with stylized classical motifs in an original way, evoking a luxury hunting lodge.

 

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