The Echoes of Mies Van Der Rohe

A Commentary on the BB&T Building in downtown Asheville.  

north-west-bank-1965Local Architect Mark Allison was generous enough to send me his new video commentary on the BB&T Building. Enjoy this interesting history into the architectural influences of Mies Van Der Rohe.  Copy the link at the bottom of this post into your address bar.

The BB&T Building was completed in 1965 as the headquarters for North Western Bank.  It is 18 stories, was built by George Goodyear and designed by D. Gene Whittington.  

The BB&T building reflects the International style of Mies Van Der Rohe.  Mies’s thirty years as an American architect reflect a more structural, pure approach towards achieving his goal of a new architecture for the 20th Century.  He focused his efforts on the idea of enclosing open and adaptable spaces with clearly arranged structural frameworks, featuring pre-manufactured steel shapes infilled with large sheets of glass.  His early projects at the IIT campus and for developer Herb Greenwald opened the eyes of Amercians to a style that seemed a natural progression of the almost forgotten 19th century Chicago School style.   His architecture with origins in the German Bauhaus and western European International Style became an accepted mode of building for American cultural and educational institutions, developers, public agencies, and large corporations.  

The BB&T building does not live up to some key design principles of Mies as Mark will point out in his video.  

Thanks Mark!

(text by Troy Winterrowd, photo courtesy of the Pack Memorial Library)

4 responses to “The Echoes of Mies Van Der Rohe

  1. That was great! Thanks! Iv’e often thought the BB&T could be reclad and become a great addition to the eclectic mix that Asheville has. The garage they own across the street is an incredible eye sore as well.

    • Asheville Modern Architecture, Design and Real Estate

      Yes. I agree. I enjoy having the building here, but it would be great to bring new life to it and the heart of the city center. New. Fresh and Green.

  2. I think it needs a complete overhaul. New glass, stainless steel, and maybe an altered exterior and roofline. It should also be renovated to be as sustainable and green as possible. Right now isn’t the time to do it, but maybe in a decade or so when technology can make it be very green and sustainable.

    • Asheville Modern Architecture, Design and Real Estate

      It would be great to have a competition to do something with it and make it the new, green icon of the city.

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