Date of Award

December 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

Stephanie Barczewski

Committee Member

Pamela Mack

Committee Member

Orville Vernon Burton


This thesis explores the early conceptual designs for Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. Examining architect Richard Morris Hunt’s surviving floorplans, elevation drawings, and a handful of other renderings, this thesis chronicles the evolution of Biltmore House on the drafting tables of the Hunt office from a luxurious but typical colonial revival mansion into the largest house ever constructed in the United States. Additionally, the thesis explores the European precedents that inspired the design of Biltmore House by comparing its details with those of buildings frequently referenced as having inspired its design in several secondary sources. The result is a deeper understanding of how the largest home in the United States came to take the shape it did.



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