by Dale Wayne Slusser

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

Asheville has, since the coming of the railroad in the 1880’s, always attracted both the most wealthy and talented citizens from all parts of the U. S.  However, I was recently reminded that among those attracted to Asheville also were numerous “non-resident aliens”, from all parts of the world, and judging from the Alien, Naturalization and Citizenship Records in the North Carolina Archives, Asheville and Buncombe County had quite a number. of resident aliens.   A few of the most notable, or recognizable were architects Richard Sharp Smith, S. Grant Alexander, and James Buttrick from Great Britain, and George Masa the photographer from Japan.  But have you ever heard of Javier Segundo Adrianzen, a young architect from Peru?

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

Javier Segundo Adrianzen was born on January 2, 1888 in Chiclayo of the Lambayeque region of northern Peru.  While attending the St. Joseph National High School in Chiclayo, Peru, Adrianzen, in 1907, was selected by the Peruvian Government to attend the New York State Normal College (now called University at Albany, SUNY).  Adrianzen exhibited promising artistic talent, as shown during his first year at the College as he became the Director of the Art Department for the school magazine, “The Echo”.  In fact, he even made a pen and ink sketch for the cover of the October 1907 issue.  In 1909, Adrianzen completed a Bachelor of Arts degree, and then in 1910- he graduated from the State Normal College with a Bachelor of Pedagogy degree and then returned to Peru.

In 1912, Adrianzen decided to return to the U. S. and enroll at Cornell University to pursue a Bachelor of Architecture degree.  Nicknamed “Perutzi” by his classmates, he became active in college life, becoming the Vice-President of the “La Union Latino-Americana”.  After two-and a half year at Cornell, “Perutzi” Adrianzen graduated in 1915.

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

After graduation from Cornell, Adrianzen decided to settle in College Point, NY.  He was living there and working as a mechanical designer for the Auto Press factory (manufacturer of printing presses) when he enlisted in the Army in 1917.  By 1920 he had returned to New York, where it appears, he was working as an “oiler” on the “S. S. Dayton” out of Stapleton, NY.[1] That same year, he married Rosalie Landa, a daughter of Czechoslovakian immigrants, Charles & Anastasia Landa.

Soon after their marriage the couple moved to Asheville and according to the 1921 City Directory, took up residence at 82 Woodfin Street.  In January of 1922, they purchased two tracts of land in West Asheville[2], apparently for investment or development.  A few months later, they purchased two lots[3] in the Pine Burr Park development north of Asheville along the Weaverville Highway.  This property now comprises all the land on both sides of Dove Haven Lane, across the highway from the Log Cabin Motor Court.

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

The Adrianzens settled on the Pine Burr property.  A 1929 article in the Asheville Citizen Times described Javier’s Shangri-La:

“He [Adrianzen] lives in Pine Burr Park, a charming creation of his own, covering two acres, on the Weaverville road, where Highways 20 and 69 separate.  An unique little bungalow, surrounded by rocky paths, and floral display, affords a workshop among the trees and flowers where nature’s artistry is seen at its best.  Here he says he can commune with nature and bring forth ideas which would be well nigh impossible alongside the noise of the city streets. Here he is able to blend his profession of architecture with his hobby the artistry of pen and brush.”[4]

The 1923 City Directory listed Adrianzen’s occupation as “draftsman, W. H. Lord”.  However, we know from the 1929 article that Adrianzen had his own projects, some while practicing on his own and some while working under the umbrella of W. H. Lord.  Mentioned in the article, were “a number of the better class residences which he has done in Lake View Park and other parts of Asheville.”

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

One of the first listed in the article was the residence of “Dr. Sinclair”.  Adrianzen chose a rustic, yet palatial Gothic-styled English Manor House for the design of Dr. J. A. Sinclair’s home.  Coursed rubble limestone was used for the exterior walls, and ashlar faced stone for the front door surround, window surrounds, and mullions. Adrianzen used leaded-glass casements for the windows of the principal rooms, and six-over-six sash windows for the bedrooms, baths and other secondary rooms.  A gray slate roof continued the illusion of age, making the new house look as if was an English Manor home from days gone by.

Another of the Adrianzen-designed Lake View Park residences listed in the 1929 article was the “E. E. Reed” residence, built in 1924, at the same time as the Sinclair house.  The house has a stone foundation built to the water-table height, with stuccoed hollow-clay tile walls above.  The house remains at 299 Midland Drive.

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

The 1929 article also listed the George H. Wright residence, “Rocca” as one of the “fine residences” designed by Adrianzen.  This unique stone, brick and stucco home at 88 Stratford Road was first built as a model home.  In 1928, George H. & Irene Wright, along with their five children, purchased this unique residence.

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

“Rocca” was commissioned to be designed as a “Home Beautiful” model house for the Lake View Development.  Although the house was widely covered in the newspapers, and noted as being designed by an architect, Adrianzen’s name was never given as the architect.  However, in a 1928 article announcing the opening of the model home, “the architect”, though not named, is obvious from his description of his creation.

“This is what the architect has to say of the Home Beautiful:  “Rocca” was decreed by its surroundings to be a sturdy, well-proportioned, and original type of architecture.  Columns and minute details had to be barred, but the combinations of Spanish and Inca architecture in the exterior seemed to answer the dictation of this location.  The Spanish element denotes the transition to modern civilization, and the Inca element reflects the love of that ancient tribe for the strength of granite, and for their ability to construct shelters that stood the test of generations of use through peace, and also through warfare.  Relics of Inca architecture, preserved for hundreds of years have been the only means of tracing that extinct Peruvian civilization.  Spanish invasions into South America centuries ago brought a union of the architectures of these two widely different nations.”[5]

“The name ‘Rocca’ was the name of the leader among distinctive homes. Rocca appears in Lake View Park as perhaps the first work in the whole world to exemplify a modern interpretation of the Incas’ taste in building.  The result is a style unique; appealing to the fastidious because it is modern for today, and modern for all time; leaving ample field for the originality of the owner in its decoration; and developing an interest that will grow as the years go by.”[6]

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

Another house credited to Adrianzen in the 1929 article is the residence of “Mrs. Charles Baird”.   I believe this to be a reference to Mr. & Mrs. Charles Baird’s summer home called “Bannockburn”, which Mrs. Baird ran as Bannockburn Inn.  Bannockburn was built on the westside of Beaver Lake, on original Baird land that predated the Lake View Park development.  Current readers would recognize the location as Baird Lane off modern-day Lakeshore Drive.  In 1923, the Baird’s commissioned a large addition to the wood-framed home to increase their boarding capacity.  The 1929 article credits Adrianzen as the architect, however drawings of the addition, which are stored at Pack Library, show “W. H. Lord” as the architect.  I don’t see this as a discrepancy as in the 1923 City Directory, Adrianzen is listed as a “draftsman” at “W. H. Lord”.  So, it’s quite feasible that this was a project of Adrianzen, either with him working as an employee of Lord or working under the auspices of Lord as a board-registered architect.  The large addition to Bannockburn included a new entrance, pantry, and large dining room on the first floor and an additional six bedrooms and three baths on the second floor.

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

The 1929 article also credits Adrianzen as the architect for three local non-residential projects.  The article credits him as the designer of the “façade on the Plaza Theater on Pack Square”.  In 1921, The Ideal Amusement Company built “Pack Theater” on Pack Square, with its entrance at 6 Biltmore Avenue.  But then in December of 1923, L. B. Jackson purchased the Theater property at the corner of Pack Square and Biltmore Avenue. At first Jackson intended it as the site for a 10-story skyscraper but decided instead to keep the theater and remodel it to include a new corner entrance and three new storefronts facing Pack Square.  The remodeled theater, which was renamed “Plaza Theater”, reopened in April of 1924, however the new entrance, with its new façade was not opened until June of 1924.  Although not attributed to any architect, it was reported that “the new entrance is very beautiful and something entirely different from any building on Pack Square, as the entrance is Moorish architecture and the stucco front, with various colored trimmings, attracts not a little attention.”[7]  The new entrance was obviously designed by someone well acquainted with Spanish architecture!

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

Two other projects credited to Adrianzen are the First Christian Church and Weaverville Presbyterian Church.  Both of these churches were built in the 1920’s when Adrainzen was living and practicing in Asheville.  First Christian Church on Woodfin Street was designed in 1923, with construction beginning in 1924.  Weaverville Presbyterian Church, was designed in 1926 with construction in 1927.  Both churches were built of stone, and both are still in use by their respective congregations.

Javier S. Adrianzen: A Peruvian Architect in Asheville

Although I have not identified any Adrianzen designed projects in Asheville after 1929, I know that he continued to live and work in Asheville until 1938, at which time he moved back to College Point, New York.[8]  Notably, in 1938 Adrianzen was commissioned to design the Peruvian Pavilion for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.

The Adrianzens may have returned to Asheville for occasional visits for a few years, as they did not sell the Pine Burr Park property until 1947.  Interestingly, although they had a sales contract to sell their West Asheville property in 1926, the contract was later canceled and in fact the family held on to the property until 2017, at which time Adrianzen’s grandchildren sold the property (at 170 Joyner Avenue) to a developer.[9]

Javier S. Adrianzen was a talented artist and architect who left his distinct mark on Asheville’s built environment, and I suspect and hope that more of his legacy will be discovered in future years.

Photo credits:

  1. J. S. Adrianzen 1929 photo-Buncombe County: Alien, Naturalization and Citizenship Records: Alien Registration Record, http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p15012coll13/id/187/
  2. Adrianzen with other students 1907- from Prisma-magazine Issues 29-44 – Page 17 –1907.
  3. The Echo Volume 16 Number 2, 1907 October- https://archives.albany.edu/concern/daos/7s75dc47g?locale=en
  4. J. S. Adrianzen 1915 photo- -The Cornell -Class Book, Cornell University, Senior Class of Cornell University, 1915
  5. Dr. Sinclair residence-photo by author
  6. E. E. Reed house construction: Asheville Citizen Times, June 8, 1924, page 9.
  7. “Rocca” Advertisement- The Sunday Citizen, July 8, 1928. Page 6 Section A.
  8. Chas. Baird residence drawing-North Carolina Collection, Pack Library.
  9. Bannockburn Inn postcard- Fred Kahn Asheville Postcard Collection M2016.08- UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives, D. H. Ramsey Library, Asheville, NC.
  10. Plaza Theater-Pack Square photo- North Carolina Collection, Pack Library.
  11. First Christian Church postcard- North Carolina Collection, Pack Library.
  12. Westminster Presbyterian Church- North Carolina Collection, Pack Library.
  13. Javier S. Adrianzen at Peruvian Pavillion, 1940- Cornell Alumni News, Volume XLII, No. 31, May 30, 1940. Ithaca, NY.

 

[1] 1920 Census, New York

[2] 04/20/1922 Gay & Effie Green to Javier S. Adrianzen 2 TRACKS BK 2 P 77 Db. 256/399. Buncombe County Register of Deeds.

[3] 06/14/1922 W. S. & Isabella Way to Javier S. Adrianzen LOTS 50 50 1/2 BK 198 P 162 Db. 260/52., Buncombe County Register of Deeds.

[4] Asheville Citizen-Times, Asheville, NC, April 7, 1929, page 19.

[5] Asheville Citizen-Times, Asheville, NC, July 08, 1928, page 6.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Asheville Citizen-Times, Asheville, NC, June 23, 1924, page 16.

[8] “15 BArch-Javier S. Adrianzen has moved from Asheville, NC; his address, Box 2, College Point, NY”- “Cornell Alumni News”– March 3, 1938  Volume 40 No 20.

[9] Eric Adrianzen; Michael Adrianzen; Edward & Patricia Murphy; Steven & Jeanne Gullotta; Denice Jones to David H. Ulrichs, GREEN-Thrash Property Buncombe Lot:53 & 54 PB 2/77 JOYNER AVE Db. 5621/759, Buncombe County Register of Deeds.