Black Mountain College Project   

Architecture Section



Black Mountain and Asheville

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of Architects

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Section Outline



Job captain:
A. Lawrence Kocher
Spring 1941
Summer 1941 through spring 1942
Claude Stoller





    Preliminary plan
    Elevation and Plan
    Exterior and Interior Views

Jalowetz House (1) front, (2) deck, and (3) fireplace with transite facing. The chairs were designed by Lawrence Kocher.

Photographs: North Carolina State Archives, House, photographer Claude Stoller; deck and fireplace, Black Mountain College Research Project Papers, Margaret Kocher Papers..

The Jalowetz House was designed by Lawrence Kocher for Heinrich Jalowetz, who taught music, and his wife Johanna, who taught voice and bookbinding. In Vienna as a young man, Heinrich Jalowetz had been with Alban Berg and Anton Webern, among Arnold Schoenberg's first students. In 1933 when Adolph Hitler came to power, he was director of the opera in Cologne. He was forced to flee Germany and was hired to teach music at Black Mountain. Much beloved by the community, he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1946.

The small house was designed to be built by unskilled labor. Claude Stoller, a student who later became an architect, directed the construction under the supervision of  Lawrence Kocher and Charles Godfrey, the contractor who was directing the construction of the Studies Building. As construction progressed, Stoller would meet with the contractor to plan the next phase. He often found himself directing not only students but faculty as well.

The house combined conventional methods of construction such as a wood frame and stone terrace along with prefabricated materials such as plywood, transite (a corrugated concrete and asbestos sheathing manufactured by Johns-Manville Company), and steel sash windows. The facing for the fireplace, also was of transite. The module for the rooms was 4 x 8 foot panels of plywood although Kocher at times used half panels. Although he had hoped to show that by using plywood, walls could be built without studs, he found that in some cases they were necessary.  Kocher favored plywood because it could easily be applied, was economical, and was conducive to a modular plan.  Built in storage facilities were used

The living room was designed to serve as a music classroom. To soften the sound of the grand piano the panels at one end of the room were perforated with 1/8 inch holes 2 inches apart and the ceiling was of vermiculite. One wall was lined with shelves for books and Jalowetz's music scores. A shed roof improved ventilation and provided natural light. At one end of the living room a picture window opened to a view of the farmland and mountains beyond.  A small terrace shared the view. Steps to the terrace were completed in the spring of 1943 by Lou Bernard Voigt and students.

Johanna Jalowetz lived in the house until she left the college in 1953, and Heinrich Jalowetz, until his death in 1946. After 1953 the Charles Olson and his family lived there.

“CONSTRUCTION OUTLINE: STRUCTURE: Exterior walls – Superharbord, Harbor Plywood Co. And Transite, corrugated sections, Johns-Manville Co.; Inside–plywood, U.S. Plywood Corp. Floors–oak plywood and pine. ROOF AND DECK– white porcelain granule roll roofing, Philip Carey Co. INSULATION: Outside walls–rock-wool, Johns-Manville Co. Roof–Ferrotherm, Ferrotherm Corp. WINDOWS: Sash-steel, Truscon Steel Co. Glass–Pennvernon and plate, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. BATHROOM EQUIPMENT–American Radiator-Standard Sanitary Corp. and Hajoca Corp. HEATING–hot air system. Regulator–Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Co.  

See “HOUSE IN BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C.: A. Lawrence Kocher designs an experimental house at Black Mountain College and his architectural students learn about prefabrication by building it,” Architectural Forum, July 1944.

2007: The cottage has been remodeled with a new exterior facing and a garage has been added. It is a private residence.


The Black Mountain College Project gratefully acknowledges a grant from the Graham Foundation
for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts for a study of architecture at Black Mountain College.