Our Asheville City Hall is a colorful, massive and eclectic Art Deco masterpiece. Completed in 1928, the city had proposed twin buildings, but county officials turned down the idea for a more staid, traditional architectural style. The city’s choice of design represents the progressive thinking of the early 1920’s in Asheville.
Douglas Ellington, architect, stated the building’s design was “an evolution of the desire that the contours of the building should reflect the mountain background”. He chose materials for their color “paralleling the natural clay-pink shades” found in the local soil.
The unusual octagonal roof is covered with bands of elongated triangular terra-cotta red tiles. Between the two levels of the roof are angular pink Georgia marble piers between which are precise vertical rows of ornamental green and gold feather motifs representing the Native Americans who once lived here.
Ellington was the architect of many iconic buildings in Asheville including the S&W Cafeteria, First Baptist Church and Asheville High School. His grand nephews, Douglas & Kenneth Ellington, recently purchased the S & W Cafeteria building and have opened a bar and restaurant.
A native of Clayton, NC, he studied architecture at Drexel Institute and the University of Pennsylvania before winning the 1911 Paris Prize from the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects, an award that provided for study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1913 Ellington won the Prix de Rougevin, the top honor for decorative competitions at the École, the first American ever to do so. He traveled widely while in Europe.
He relocated his firm to Asheville in 1926 after being commissioned to design the First Baptist Church. Ellington lived and worked here until his death in 1960.
There is a unique opportunity to own a building designed by Douglas Ellington. Formerly the Biltmore Hospital, this building was commissioned by George Vanderbilt. In 2005, it was converted to luxury condominiums: Biltmore Village Condominiums at 8 Village Lane.
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