Architecture Faculty Honored by Blue Ridge AIA

At the recent 2010 Blue Ridge AIA Design & Honor Awards Banquet three awards were given to School of Architecture + Design faculty:

Scott Poole, Director of the School of Architecture + Design, received the Honor Award for Distinguished Achievement.

LumenHaus received an Award of Excellence. School of Architecture + Design faculty recognized were: Joe Wheeler, Bob Dunay and Bob Schubert.

James Bassett and Paola Zellner Bassett (Zellner+Bassett) received an Award of Excellence for the design of Bee Global Studio and Gallery in western North Carolina.

Bee Global Studio and Gallery, a new facility for Bee Global, a candle and lantern making company adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and situated in a long N/S valley along the Stecoah Creek drainage in the Western North Carolina mountains, is a project that explores the relationship between a contemporary live/work lifestyle and the cultural and geographical nuances of the region. The third in a series of projects on the site, the Studio Gallery extends a formal and material exploration begun in two preceding projects: Tree Bridge, a storm damaged tree felled and converted into a bridge; and Work Shed, a work and storage space combined with space for rest and reflection.

The way of making on the site fell into accord with the ideals of the business, rural lifestyle, and philosophy. It was essential that the new structures and site as a whole were grown over time, rather than developed rapidly, and that this new building could be a space where children could be raised, alongside candle making and public retail. The projects, each built by the owner, were part of creating a material and building knowledge, direct and of the place, and reach a particular maturity in the Studio and Gallery.

The client asked for an inexpensive, simply assembled structure that would be inviting, and yet balance the privacy needed in a Live/Work space. The plan is arranged to clearly distinguish the two main bodies of the program: Gallery and Studio. The Gallery is oriented east/west and thrust towards the road to demarcate the entrance and become a bridge into the site. The Studio, Office and Inventory are oriented north/south to anchor the building on the slope and create a threshold between the public upper garden and the private lower gardens and house site of the 70 acre compound.

Sited above flood level and below the state road, the building is tucked into a fold in the site, creating productive wildflower gardens both above and below the structure. The narrow valley creates an elevated east and west horizon and a contour which is a natural ‘offset’ of the creek and creates the distinct and terraced zones of public garden-building-garden-creek.