Black Mountain and Asheville
Blue Ridge Campus
Lake Eden Campus
Guide to the Campuses
Architecture related publications
(31) Minimum House
Ralph Chernoff, Bernard Karp, Albert
Lanier, Alex Morse, Warren Outten, Sewell Sillman, Ragland Watkins and
Fall 1947-Summer 1948
the fall of 1947, frustrated by the college's failure to obtain a
full-time architect, a group of students formed a study group which met
once a week to discuss modern architecture. Two of the students – Albert
Lanier and Ragland ‘Rags’ Watkins – had previously studied architecture at
the Georgia Institute of Technology. Other members of the group included
Paul Williams, Warren Outten, Si Sillman, Bernard Karp, Alex Morse, and
Eager to actually build something, the group designed a small low-cost
house with an area of 400 square feet, providing cooking, sleeping and
study facilities for a faculty or student couple. Plans and cost estimates
were approved by the Board of Fellows. A gift of $1,000 by Paul Williams's
mother enabled the college to move ahead with the project to be
constructed by students.
The south facade of glass panels looked out onto a woodland scene with a
stream and a grove of rhododendron and dogwood trees. The south exposure
took advantage of solar heat in the winter time. The north side, facing
the road, was of insulating stone gathered from the college property. A
row of windows was placed at the ceiling for privacy. The east and west
sides were of corrugated aluminum.
of the house included Joe and Mary Fiore and Paul and Vera Baker Williams.
See “Minimum House: A Student Project,” Arts and Architecture,
2007: The building was demolished by Camp Rockmont. Only the concrete
foundation and stone wall remain.
Photograph courtesy North Carolina State Archives, Black Mountain College
Research Project Papers, Jerry Levy Papers (facade); Joseph and Mary Fiore