North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Welcome to
North Carolina Architects & Builders

This biographical dictionary highlights architects and builders who have produced North Carolina's architecture for more than 300 years. A brief biography plus a building list traces each person's work in the state. This is a growing website, with many more entries still to be added. We invite users to send corrections and updated information to enhance the site.

Guastavino, Rafael, Sr. (1842-1908)

Basilica of St. Lawrence [Asheville]

Rafael Guastavino y Moreno (1842-1908), architect and master builder, was born in Valencia, Spain and died at his residence in Black Mountain, North Carolina. He was known for improving an ancient form of masonry construction and introducing it to the United States, where it was used by leading architects in many significant buildings, particularly in the Northeast. The construction firm he started in 1889, the Guastavino Fire Proof Construction Company, continued in business until 1962, installing its specialized type of work in perhaps a thousand buildings in the United States. The company also built in Canada, Cuba, India...

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Dorton Arena, Raleigh
Matthew Nowicki, architect

Notable Quotes

"Mr. Guastavino began laying these tile exactly as if he were shingling an imaginary dome in space, only using cement for nails. Beginning at the bottom course, the first six or seven thicknesses of tile were laid one over the other braking joints, in a special cement of plaster of paris. The next course, laid in Portland cement, was held in place by overlapping the tile below. The process was repeated until the great dome was finished without the aid of girdlers [sic] or supporting scaffolds."

Guastavino, Rafael, Sr. (1842-1908)

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