In light of the announcement that the BB&T building will be repurposed and remodeled, I thought it would be appropriate to pull this article out of the archives. In the attached video, local architect Mark Allison gives context to the buildings architecture in relationship to both other cities and Asheville itself. Enjoy!
A Commentary on the BB&T Building in downtown Asheville.
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.
Thank you Mark.
Photo courtesy of the Pack Memorial Library