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Top 5 Architectural Challenges in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Written by:
Catherine Park
Wes Hicks

The beautiful vistas and elegant curves of the Blue Ridge Mountains are a haven for lovers of the outdoors, artists of every discipline, and those that prefer a moderate annual climate. With the range stretching through three states, many places to explore this area are filled witt natural wonder. Unsurprisingly, so many people choose to make areas like Asheville, North Carolina, their home. 

In the past decade, there has been an undeniable residential and commercial boom in and around Asheville. So many homes are being put up that many of the areas of the city look unfamiliar to the locals. This type of expansion is good for the city but can be a nightmare for architects. Anyone who has been to the Asheville area knows how hilly and steep it can be and how it could propose challenges when building a new home. 

Suppose you are an architect that loves a challenge; making the Blue Ridge Mountains your home base could earn you some fascinating projects. If you are looking for a building plot in the area, you will want to work with the best architecture firm Asheville has to offer. Let’s take a closer look at just a few of the architectural challenges of building in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Site Constraints

You will be hard-pressed to find even ground or a straight road anywhere around Asheville. This means finding a building spot on level ground is virtually unheard of. Architects in the Asheville area need to take many site constraints into consideration when putting their plans together. Your site could have dramatic elevation changes, be sitting on granite or bedrock or other geological hazards.

Weather Considerations

Any area of the country that is at a significant elevation can expect to experience a variety of weather, including extreme storms and winds. As an architect, you will need to consider all of the possible weather in the area for your plans. 

Environmental Impact

Much of the wilderness area, species, and ecosystems of the Blue Ridge Mountains are protected by federal law. This means that architects that wish to build in the area must meet stringent regulations to maintain a minimal environmental impact. Your project will be subject to additional scrutiny when you are building infrastructure for your projects. 


Your next Asheville client may have found the perfect piece of land on the side of one of the ridges, but their building spot could easily be a mile or more from a municipal road. Establishing a safe access road or driveway will require extensive inspection, permits, and reviews. 


While it’s true that the off-grid or sustainable lifestyle is popular in the Asheville area, the majority of home builders will require a minimum of infrastructure for their new homes. Navigating with other vendors to install utilities and necessary sewage and drainage infrastructure will be integral to the architectural design. 

If you enjoy a challenge and incorporating your architectural designs with the natural world, Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains have unlimited possibilities. 

By Alfredo Gonzalez

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