top of page
Getting to Know

Rafael Guastavino was a Spanish architect who immigrated to the US in 1881. His innovative designs of vaulted and tiled domes made buildings beautiful, strong, and most importantly, fireproof. Today there are hundreds of Guastavino ceilings around the US. In the late 1880’s Guastavino came to North Carolina to work on the Biltmore House and in 1906 he designed and started building St. Lawrence Basilica in downtown Asheville. Guastavino built a home in Black Mountain, NC where he lived with his wife and son until his unexpected death in 1908.

March 27 9:00-4:00 Guastavino in the Classroom- Teacher Workshop at BMCA

Join us for a day of discovering Guastavino as we focus on his life, his impact on WNC, and ways you can bring this local history into your classroom.  We’ll integrate these concepts with themes of immigration, entrepreneurship, local resources and economies, as well as geometric concepts.  The day will be filled with hands-on learning, arts integration strategies, and opportunities to network with other teachers.

April 14 & 15 Family Tile Making Workshops at BMCA • Free

  • Friday, April 14 @ 5:30 

  • Saturday, April 15 @ 4:00 

Families are invited to participate in this fun opportunity to make a clay tile.  Each adult and child will work together to create one tile that will be a family treasure for years to come.  BOTH SESSIONS ARE FULL.


April 15 @ 11:00 Searching for Guastavino Book Reading at BM Library • Free

Join us at the Black Mountain Library for a special reading of the children’s book Searching for Guastavino and an opportunity to meet the author, Robert Sumner.


April 28 @ 1:00 Searching for Guastavino: Writing, Illustrating and Publishing a Children’s Book • Free

Presented in person by Black Mountain author and illustrator Robert Sumner and electronically by author and illustrator Mary Sumner Stephenson.

Follow the father-daughter enterprise as they write, illustrate and publish their first children’s book based on the former Black Mountain resident  and world renowned architect, Rafael Guastavino. We will cover the pitfalls and advantages of self-publishing and how to use the internet and social media to get your book from idea to finished product.

April 30 @ 5:00 Who is Guastavino?   A presentation with Rena Henderson • Free

An accidental viewing of a 2015 lecture by MIT Professor John Ochensdorf about an incredible and fascinating architect led me on an exploration of the work of the Rafael Guastavino and his son Rafael Guastavino Jr. and their extensive contribution to the expansive and valuable work they did all over the world. Suddenly Guastavino seemed to be everywhere: in my town (Black Mtn), city (Asheville) and hometown (Rome, GA.) Each discovery led to another discovery. Who could resist that? 

The reasoning and mystery of this family and its contribution to art, architecture and culture grabbed my interest which has grown into an obsession. 


We hope you leave with a case of "Guastavitis"'s very contagious!

This project was supported by ArtsAVL, Buncombe County Government, and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

bottom of page