Tag Archives: mark allison

Architect Mark Allison

kArticle from February 2009 | Architect Mark Allison is a native of Asheville. He left Asheville after high school to study at UNC Charlotte. He followed that with studies in Denmark and then finished with his degree from the Pratt Institute. Eventually, he moved to Atlanta where he spent several years working for the Epsten Group. The Epsten Group was one of the first design groups in Atlanta practicing sustainable principles and LEED certifications with their projects. In 1997 he returned to Asheville where he worked for both PBC&L Architects and Samsel Architects. One year ago, after completing a home for him 1chand his family, he opened his own design office.

Mark’s office is in his new home, which is located in one of my favorite mid-century neighborhoods off of Town Mountain Rd. The home was constructed on a steep slope opposite many 1960’s contemporary homes. While creating a 3300 sqft modern home for today his design is sensitive to the context of his neighbors all while balancing with the steep slope of his 1.5 acre site.8ch

Mark’s use of sustainable materials was evident through much of his home along with incorporating some passive solar exposure. The steep slope of the site allowed the incorporation of a deep basement into the foundation. Mark made use of a pre-cast concrete system to allow for larger openings and more a natural light. The basement does not feel like a basement.intro-home

One of the mechanical items I knew little about was the Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV). Mark tried to explain it to me, but it went in one ear and out the other while admiring the house. Doing an online search I found the dictionary explanation in unreadable technical jargon. Still not getting it I found this video that will helped. Take a moment to watch.

Previous to visiting Mark’s office and home I looked at his website. I noticed two projects I wanted to discuss with him.

One of the two projects is a concept for a commercial building along Merrimon Ave. Mark has a great deal of experience developing commercial projects. In Mark’s words, “This building for a retail or office tenant creates a pedestrian oasis against heavy automobile traffic on Merrimon Avenue. A south-facing courtyard shielded from the street by an armature of precast concrete and glass block wall creates a multifunction courtyard. One passes from here to an inner court between an existing building and the new. The design reinforces the 1street-final-copyemerging pedestrian character of this new urban edge. The challenge was to create an economical, energy efficient shell that is true to its concept, affords flexibility to its future tenants.” I could immediately recognize and appreciate the attempts Mark was making to address both the automobile and the pedestrian. The simplicity, scale and continuous portion of the architectural marquee creates a billboard to help identify it from an automobile. At the same time the way the pedestrian level falls back becomes welcoming to those on foot. For me they are simple, clean gestures that get the job done while addressing issues that many new buildings along Merrimon don’t.1jh-copy

The other project I noticed is a home he is creating for a family in Asheville.  He is designing a 1500q/ft., sustainable house that will house 3 generations under one roof. The house utilizes passive solar design principles and is tailored to its gently sloping site.  Shared terraces and courtyards join both the public and private wings. I appreciated what he and his clients were working to achieve and believe that they were creating something we will see more of in the future which is a smaller home with the flexibility to house more generations, accommodate a professional office all while working to be energy efficient.0815-plan-sd-copy1

Looking at Mark’s projects you notice that he works closely in blending the program of each project with the context of the specific site. He works back and forth with all the different issues involved in designing a building until there is a natural balance of all the pieces while always including his individual, creative vision as part of the process and result.

(text by Troy Winterrowd, Mark’s house photos by John Fletcher of the Citizen Times)

Modern Monday

Architect Mark Allison’s 1 Sunset ParkwayScreen Shot 2016-02-27 at 6.36.16 AM

Good Morning Folks! Check out this recently completed and unexpected modern interior stewarded by the talents of architect Mark Allison. 1 Sunset Parkway has stood on the market for a few years waiting for someone to envision new life for the building. We are so grateful to have this addition and modern spin to a very classical structure. Visit here for more details. Cheers to Mark!

Make Your Modern | Mark Allison’s Crescent House

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 1.45.12 PMKelly and I are always preaching that Ranch houses being a great resource here in Asheville. Fundamentally, they make a great starting point for making your modern lifestyle. Take a quick peek at architect Mark Allison’s newest project in the Beaverdam area. Mark is expanding this ranch home by 800sqft for a family in need of more space and is thoughtfully using the site to carve out a series of experiences. Click here to see more sketches on his project as shown on houzz.

Echoes of Mies Van Der Rohe

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.  

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.

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

Sold in 2011

The Skinny on Modern to Contemporary Home Sales

2011 started out similar to the previous few years, but quietly came roaring to life as it nudged into 2012. A few realtor friends said it was one of their better years, but they had to work  extra, extra, extra hard for it. As far as contemporary homes are concerned we had a few special ones swap owners this year. Here is a brief look at some notable ones.

In general, all shapes and sizes of homes found new owners in 2011 while some still remain on the market or have been pulled. The issue for the modern to contemporary home buyer in Asheville is lack of inventory. A good, open, one-level contemporary home of modest size with a view isn’t around every corner as seen in my version of heaven. Kelly Erin-Spinney, realtor for Real Living, knows having previously worked real estate in both Florida and California that today’s homebuyer is looking for less – not more. She states, “They are looking for their open and zen mountain retreat which opposes what builders were building in the past ten years. Times have changed.” I know from my own clients that if I could find spaces that live like an urban loft, but exist privately in nature I might have a chance of retiring.

This January seems to be one of the most active on record in our own office. Kelly and I have witnessed a few contemporary’s being snatched up just before showings. Specializing in Modern, we have a back order of simple and clean buyers looking for the same polished diamond among the rustic.

This vintage gem near Biltmore Lake was on the market for five months and just went under contract to the disappointment of our buyers. A 1972 contemporary with 3 Beds + 2.5 Baths listed for $349,000. Sweet!

Buyers– you may have to be patient or creative (ranch remodel?) to find or create the one, but don’t expect bargains. The interesting tidbit for all bargain hunters out there waiting to make half price offers: on average these homes sold for 94.7% of listing price. Yes, you heard me! I did the math myself and admit it put a crack in my jaded shell. Which means – it is time to make that deal and get on with your life here in Asheville.

Here is a sweet, little mid-century built in 1965 on 2 acres in Fairview. Currently, listed for $295,000 it has 3 Beds + 2.5 Baths in over 2600 sqft with an extra workshop building.

Sellers – get your homes to 2012 standards. Even with little inventory buyers still want something up-to-date or a clear understanding of what it will take to get there. Make it easy for them. We all know buyers have been nervous about the unknown future which means they don’t care to add on the unknown expenses of bringing a home up to date at this stage in life. Sure – buyers like charm. But you can sit there on your charm as it often comes via Home Depot into inadequate spaces with lots of fresh air (drafts). Do something. Bring in an expert, listen and follow through. [ I often bring in Katie Rice from Bellwether Builders for both my buyer and seller clients. Having built contemporary homes, remodeled ranches she can provide some consulting from a range of $85 to $250 to look at a home and give you some ideas and costs. I know many architects, including Mark Allison offer consultations. ]

Yes, it’s been a rough few years. But as predicted by the Mayans, 2012 is shaking and speeding things up. So, let’s all soften into our yoga matts (insert uji breath), ease our resistance and drive one-handed into our Subaru future. Isn’t that why we are here — in Asheville?

Urban Prototype by architect Mark Allison

One of the things I feel strongly about is the need for interesting infill housing and mixed use buildings to better serve the residents of our community.  Mark Allison is always exploring these issues.  I was excited to see his design for this duplex/mixed use style dwelling.  As a realtor I have many clients looking for such properties to either lower their initial investment, to share common spaces and/or to gain some return on their investment.  Here is what Mark has to say about his design strategy.

“Infill housing strengthens the urban core so that we are not forced to use our cars to get from place to place. This 6,500 square foot prototype is shown on a ¼ acre semi-urban lot, but can be adapted for zero lot line situations. The front of the building can house a business or a cafe, enhancing the experience of the street. Automobile and bicycle storage is provided in the rear of the building. The two dwelling units feature open living, dining, and kitchen areas with a powder room on the middle level. Two bedrooms with private baths along with a private porch are located on the top level. Some other green features include solar water heating, rainwater collection, and energy efficient construction.”

Images courtesy of Mark Allison

Navitat Canopy Adventures – Welcome Center

I wanted to share this impressive photograph taken by  photographer Stewart Young.  He captured this imagine of the Navitat Welcome Center using a infrared camera.  The center was designed by local architect Mark Allison.

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)

Mark Allison AIA

kArchitect Mark Allison is a native of Asheville.  He left Asheville after high school to study at UNC Charlotte.  He followed that with studies in Denmark and then finished with his degree from the Pratt Institute.  Eventually, he moved to Atlanta where he spent several years working for the Epsten Group.  The Epsten Group was one of the first design groups in Atlanta practicing sustainable principles and LEED certifications with their projects. In 1997 he returned to Asheville where he worked for both PBC&L Architects and Samsel Architects.  One year ago, after completing a home for him and his family, he opened his own design office.

intro-homeMark’s office is in his new home, which is located in one of my favorite neighborhoods off of Town Mountain Rd.  The home was constructed on a steep slope opposite many 1960’s contemporary homes.  While creating a 3300sq.ft modern home for today his design kindly reflects the context of his neighbors all while balancing with the steep slope of his 1.5acre site.

I showcased Allison’s home on a previous post if you want more information.  Today, I will simply point out a few new details.  Mark’s use of sustainable materials was evident through much of his home along with incorporating some passive solar exposure.  The steep slope of the site allowed the incorporation of a deep basement into the foundation.  Mark made use of a pre-cast concrete system to allow for larger openings and more a natural light.  The basement does not feel like a basement.

allison-home-composition

One of the mechanical items I knew little about was the Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV).  Mark tried to explain it to me, but it went in one ear and out the other while admiring the house.  Doing an online search I found the dictionary explanation in unreadable technical jargon.  Still not getting it I found this website below.  It does a better job of clarifying the ERV and has nice diagrams which saves me from having to explain:

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK7284.html

Previous to visiting Mark’s office and home I looked at his website.  I noticed two projects I wanted to discuss with him.

1street-final-copyOne of the two projects is a concept for a commercial building along Merrimon Ave.  Mark has a great deal of experience developing commercial projects.  In Mark’s words, “This building for a retail or office tenant creates a pedestrian oasis against heavy automobile traffic on Merrimon Avenue.  A south-facing courtyard shielded from the street by an armature of precast concrete and glass block wall creates a multifunction courtyard.  One passes from here to an inner court between an existing building and the new.  The design reinforces the emerging pedestrian character of this new urban edge. The challenge was to create an economical, energy efficient shell that is true to its concept, affords flexibility to its future tenants.”  I could immediately recognize and appreciate the attempts Mark was making to address both the automobile and the pedestrian.  The simplicity, scale and continuous portion of the architectural marquee creates a billboard to help identify it from an automobile.  At the same time the way the pedestrian level falls back becomes welcoming to those on foot.  For me they are simple, clean gestures that get the job done while addressing issues that many new buildings along Merrimon don’t.

 1jh-copy0815-plan-sd-copy1The other project I noticed is a home he is creating for a family in Asheville.  He is designing a 1500q/ft., sustainable house that will house 3 generations under one roof.   The house utilizes passive solar design principles and is tailored to its gently sloping site.  Shared terraces and courtyards join both the public and private wings.  I appreciated what he and his clients were working to achieve and believe that they were creating something we will see more of in the future which is a smaller home with the flexibility to house more generations, accommodate a professional office all while working to be energy efficient.

Looking at Mark’s projects you notice that he works closely in blending the program of each project with the context of the specific site.  He works back and forth with all the different issues involved in designing a building until there is a natural balance of all the pieces.  Mark also brings something new by including his individual, creative touch as one of those pieces.

(text by Troy Winterrowd, Mark’s house photos by John Fletcher of the Citizen Times)

Mark Allison Home

Designed by Mark Allison

Constructed 2007

In the words of Mark Allison, an excerpt from his Dwell Magazine submission.1ch

In 2007 my wife and I decided to build our dream home on a parcel of land that we purchased about 8 years ago. The goal was to make the house as environmentally sound as possible and also to stay within budget. We succeeded on the first goal.

The house is sited on a 1.5 acre lot in close proximity to the city of Asheville. This minimizes fuel usage for vehicles.

The orientation of the house is to the east due to the slope so a clerestory was incorporated that faces south for passive solar heating and daylighting.

The house is thin and long to hug the relatively steep site. This minimized the amount of grading and blends the house into its surroundings.

The excellent Icynene insulation was used along with high efficiency heating systems.

Cementitious siding, cedar siding, metal roofing, and stone were used for low maintenance and longevity.

To avoid waste the same finish materials were used throughout the project. Trim was eliminated or used in very small profiles. The trim used in the house is 10% of what might be used in a typical house of this size.

Our satisfaction with the house is met monthly with low energy bills and the knowledge that we made a difference.

More images of the house can be seen at:

http://www.markallisonaia.net