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Guastavino Museum Project


A Sponsored Program of Christmount

Mission: To promote greater awareness locally and worldwide of the genius of Raphael Guastavino.

Vision: To excavate and exhibit his "Rhododendron" estate and to create the only museum in the world honoring Guastavino and to enlighten and educate the public.

Goal: The Project goal is to create a museum to educate the public about the life and the genius of Rafael Guastavino. The dream is to someday construct this museum with a tiled dome using the technique that Guastavino perfected, known as “cohesive construction.” The focal point of the museum will be the exhibit created by John Oschendorf, Professor of Building Technology at MIT who is teaching the construction technique used by Guastavino. With this exhibit as the foundation, it is Christmount’s vision for the museum to become the repository of artifacts of his building projects and stories of his life in the United States and Spain.

Raphael Guastavino Sr.’s genius as architect, tile-maker and craftsman may be seen in buildings throughout the United States and Spain, but he was primary architect for only two churches, the last of which was the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville, where he is entombed.

As one travels around this country and to Valencia and Barcelona, one may see hundreds of examples of the handiwork of Guastavino and his son: libraries, public buildings, art museums, train stations--in Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and even in the Nebraska State Capitol building, among others. Other sites have been destroyed, painted over, neglected. Some owners of sites are unaware of their creator’s worldwide importance.

The effort is now well underway to create on Christmount property in Black Mountain the only museum in the world devoted to the life and work of this major artist, who deserves to be far better-known and appreciated. The Raphael Guastavino museum will attract donors who possess other artifacts in the area and around the nation.

Among our present goals are:

  • Reconstruction of the stonewall at the house site

  • Reconstruction of the beehive kiln

  • Limited dig at the site to determine the footprint of the buildings
  • Identification of an archeologist to conduct the dig

  • Reconstruct the collapsed dry stack stonewall
  • Create a list of interested individuals

  • Raise funds
  • Seek grants

  • Select an architect to design a museum
  • Select a trained curator to design the layout of the exhibits within the museum

  • Conduct a capital campaign
  • Construct the Guastavino Museum

In the first major phase of the Guastavino project, the impressive ruins of the home have been exposed more dramatically.

Support of various kinds is being sought, including owners of all other Guastavino sites throughout the United States and in Spain. We invite people and institutions to join us in this grand effort.

Museum Status: March 2018

  • Fall 2017: A board of directors was formed, and the organization was incorporated in the state of North Carolina as Guastavino Muesum, Inc.

  • November 2017: Application was made with the IRS for non-profit status. After this is received the organization will no longer be a program of Christmount. Guastavino Museum Inc. will be able to accept donations directly rather than through Christmount.

Board of Directors

Chair: David Madden

Secretary: Tom Patteson

Treasurer: Helen Johnson


Christmount was incorporated in 1948 for religious and educational purposes. Christmount sits on 620 acres of the former Guastavino Estate that contains the eight-acre National Register of Historic Places and a 400-acre nature preserve. Christmount operates on a year-round basis as a retreat, camp and conference center that serves a wide variety of churches, nonprofits, educational institutions and government agencies.

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