Tom Low’s village progress

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Photo of completed stage of Pocket Court Project near Asheville, N.C. (Tom Low)

Last February and before that, in December, I posted “Is this possible anymore?” and “Christmas card community” about village architecture. Both mentioned architect Tom Low’s plan for a village near Asheville, N.C.  At the time, the pocket neighborhood he had in mind existed mostly in his head. Maybe there was some beginning foundation work. There were drawings evoked, it seemed to me, by French villages that had piqued my interest in “Is this possible anymore?” (We can land a man on the moon, so why can’t we …”). Coincidentally, I am reading a 1999 novel, Timeline, by Michael Crichton that takes place in villages and castles along the Dordogne River, near the town pictured in the bottom photograph. Its protagonists find themselves transported to 1357.

Anyway, Tom has now posted to the TradArch list photographs of progress on the first phase of the village near Asheville he refers to as the Pocket Court Project. One is above and the others below are accompanied by a drawing of the original idea from above. So to the question I posed in “Is this possible anymore?,” the answer clearly is yes.

By the way, Low, whose excellent website is called “Civic By Design,” conveyed in an email to the TradArchers the product of a recent whimsical midsummer’s notion and gave me permission to pass it along to readers of this blog. He writes:

Regarding the next phases this is an open question. I have this idea to pitch that if we could attract 10 of the architects on this list to bring their client investors and commission one house each on the remaining lots, can you imagine the showcase we would have for traditional and classical architecture!? Each lot averages about 3500 sf. with some smaller and some larger with the option of including a carriage house.  If any of you are interested and capable of joining in on this group idea please let me know as I would love to pitch it to my partners.

Sounds good to me. He has received some positive feedback thus far. Maybe some architects not on the TradArch list might also be interested. Shouldn’t be too hard to give Columbus, Ind., a run for its money at a fraction of the cost.

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About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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6 Responses to Tom Low’s village progress

  1. Bernardo says:

    Love Tom Low’s design. Reminds me of Ross Chapin’s work.

    On the flip side I did click on the link to Columbus, IN, a place I didn’t know about, and watched the entire video. While it’s portrayed as some people’s vision of heaven on earth, for me it evoked just the opposite. It seems that there is an unbridgeable gap between that and the virtuous architecture and places championed on this website.

    And I was surprised to find Robert A.M Stern listed among the architects that designed portions of this modernist version of Paradise. I thought he was more in the traditionalist camp. Did he have a conversion experience somewhere along the line? Someone please enlighten me on this.


    • Thank you, Bernardo, for your kind words about this blog. As for Robert A.M. Stern, he is in fine standing as a classicist, and very good, but his firm takes on modernist jobs as well. I have twitted him on this occasionally, but that has not stopped him. He has a thick skin. He probably gets more flack for his traditional work than he does for his firm’s modernist work. “Gotta pay the bills” is the arguable rejoinder. Myself, I wish his firm would stick to traditional work. If it did, it would not give people who are not intimately familiar with the firm the heebie-jeebies!


  2. Greg says:



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