The striking Basilica of Saint Lawrence in Asheville features the largest freestanding elliptical dome in North America, with a clear span of 58 by 82 feet. The Spanish Renaissance style church was designed and built by architects Raphael Guastavino and Richard Sharp Smith, who were both drawn to Western North Carolina to work on the Biltmore Estate.
An Ancient Building System
Guastavino’s signature construction method, a revival of an ancient building system of layered tile and mortar that had been used in Catalonia and other parts of Spain for centuries, allowed the creation of freestanding curved surfaces. Guastavino’s work is found in over a thousand buildings in this country, including Grant’s Tomb, the Great Hall at Ellis Island, Grand Central Station, Carnegie Hall, and the chapel at West Point.
Construction on Basilica of St. Lawrence began in 1905 and was completed in 1909 by Raphael Guastavino, Jr. after his father died in 1908. The senior Guastavino is interred in a crypt within the church.
Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, the church is now a Basilica, a special designation given by the Pope to certain churches for their antiquity, dignity, historical importance, or significance as a place of worship.
Hours of Operation
The church is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Hours of operation and fees are subject to change. Contact directly for most current information.
The Basilica of Saint Lawrence is located in downtown Asheville.