Ford Building details

The Ford buildings at Berry College feature the iconic archways and vaulted ceilings of the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Co.

Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum is hosting a new free exhibition, “Palaces for the People: Guastavino and America’s Great Public Spaces,” beginning Monday.

Over the course of 61 years, architect and innovator Rafael Guastavino Moreno and his son Rafael Guastavino Exposito created more than 600 unique tile domes and vaultings in the United States. Their work revolutionized structural engineering and outlined a new standard for safety and beauty in architecture.

Significant landmarks such as the Ellis Island Registry Hall, the Boston Public Library, and the Biltmore Estate feature their iconic vaulted ceilings, as do the Ford buildings at Berry College.

“Palaces for the People” is a traveling exhibition of specially commissioned color photography by Michael Freeman and trademark Guastavino Company drawings.

Since Berry’s Guastavino vaults were only recently rediscovered, a supplementary display, “Guastavino at Berry,” will accompany the original exhibit. Archival documents and personal artifacts related to the Ford buildings and the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Co. will be on display for the first time.

“The design of the archways at the Ford buildings capture many visitor’s attention. However, after learning about the Guastavinos and their immense contributions to architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the vaults become even more stunning,” notes Rachel McLucas, interim director and curator at Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum.

To celebrate the exhibition, admission is free for the duration of the show, which runs through Oct. 23. Tours of the Oak Hill home will have an adjusted price.

Reservations are required and can be made at https://berry.ticketspice.com/oak-hill-tours. For more information, visit https://www.berry.edu/oakhill/.

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