Asheville
Architecture Trail

Station #13 - The Grove Arcade

The Grove Arcade
 

One of Asheville's (and arguably one of America's) most beautiful buildings, the Grove Arcade covers an entire city block while remaining charming, accessible and magnetically human scale.  Commissioned by E.W. Grove and designed by Charles Parker, this Neo-Gothic hothouse of architectural expression took its ingenious shape from 1926 to 1929 primarily as an indoor shopping arcade (prior to the modern era of malls).  Ivory-hued terra-cotta tiles soften the look of the exterior walls with sprawling embellishments around the roofline and windows.  Within, a wide central corridor, slightly pitched, courses along a two-story collection of shops and offices decorated with grotesques, Venetian Gothic arches, and spiraling wrought-iron staircases conjuring whimsy as quickly as pure function.  A peaked glass ceiling paints the space with diffused sunlight and further insinuates natural beauty and wonder.  The Arcade closed when the federal government took over the building as part of the country's effort to win World War II, evicting 74 shops and 127 offices with less than a month's notice.  Following a long run as headquarters for the National Climatic Data Center, the building was painstakingly restored by a not-for-profit foundation, opening in 2002 with shops, restaurants and 42 apartments.

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