A recent arrival from Charlotte, Michael Montgomery of ODELL is no stranger to the community of Asheville. His Appalachian roots stem from his parents, who met at Western Carolina University and passed on a love for the mountains– a place he says is big enough for great opportunities, but also a great place to raise kids. As a Senior Associate and Project Manager, Michael has also spent the last ten years getting to know the region as an architect, developing buildings like the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove and the Putsch & Co. Headquarters.
As of this February, Michael and the rest of ODELL are pleased to join the Asheville community full-time, opening up a new location for the international architectural firm in Biltmore Park.
“We are interested in being in the public arena, providing a local presence and developing cutting-edge, multi-use areas for higher-education, healthcare, institutional companies and beyond. And we’re absolutely interested in developing affordable housing,” said Michael.
“We’ve been consistently able to serve Western North Carolina from Charlotte, but have missed opportunities without having that local presence. We set up an office in Asheville because we see it as a place with great opportunity.”
Known for thoughtfully designed architecture that is innovative, sustainable and memorable, ODELL brings just as much opportunity to Asheville.
“Transformational ideas form the common thread that runs through everything we do. We really try to look at it from a different point of view,” Michael said.
Starting in the 1940’s as a one-man architectural office in Charlotte, ODELL earned national prestige for its buildings by the 1960’s. By the 1970’s, the firm became a professional corporation and shifted its philosophy away from an individually-owned architectural practice into a total professional corporation that today offers planning, architecture and interior design services.
ODELL has turned its head unflinchingly towards the challenges of design in the 21st century, developing buildings that are sustainable and resilient enough to thrive in a changing climate, while still remaining cost efficient. Many architects, including Michael, are LEED certified and use carpets, textiles, and paints with a cradle-to-cradle design, meaning that at the end of their life they can still be used in another manufacturing cycle.
“Architects in general have to know a tremendous amount about a broad range of things. From climate, sustainability and thermal envelopes to how business models work. It’s our job to make sure we’re educating clients on new practices and new opportunities. It can be as simple as thoughtful, intentional design–or reusing the materials you already have,” Michael said.
Michael has put this creativity to practice since his very first project with ODELL, which involved building a research testing facility that tested hurricane speed winds, hail, and fire on houses to measure the most cost efficient and resilient methods of building.
Another highlight for Michael was building Davidson College’s Harry L. Vance Athletic Center as an addition to the Baker Sports Complex.
“It starts with understanding the client’s goal. At Davidson, they were looking for a sustainable way to provide practice facilities and more space for arena fans with the least amount of impact to the existing campus and infrastructure. We figured out that instead of cutting down trees and building outward, we could simply change the site’s orientation.”
Michael is excited to continue this legacy of innovation here, expanding and complimenting the identity of Asheville through his work.
“I love the roof of the Basilica Church. It’s so cool catching a glimpse of the clay tile, patina green roof dome from different vantage points…. the Bohemian Hotel, and of course I can’t be an architect and not love the Biltmore. Its history and audacity is iconic.”
“Architecture is about relevancy. Creating a place that people want to go. We want to create a backdrop for the tenant to shine, whether its a restaurant, brewery or music venue. Our goal is to provide the framework where that can happen.”