Grandfather Mountain Top Shop

developed in Linville, NC

The Top Shop is a 6,220 sq. ft., 3 story access point to the mile-high swinging bridge atop Grandfather Mountain. The inclusion of an elevator makes, for the first time in history, the bridge accessible to all who visit. The facility also houses merchandise sales, display areas and storage. Designed to withstand winds in excess of 130 mph, the building is constructed of concrete and steel, with “Grandfather Mountain” stone recycled from the previous “Top Shop” building. The building’s cascading form is derived from the adjacent rock formations and in response to the predominant northwestern wind. Because of its rocky location at 5,280 feet above sea level and the absence of utility infrastructure, the project required new 3-phase power, a new well, underground water storage tanks and a new waste disposal system. A specialized septic system was designed, which is one of only two private systems approved by the state. The project features a “bridge to the bridge” that connects the building to the cliff, which was designed to both protect a rare plant area and educate the public.

“…we feel fortunate that Bill Dixon was the architect who basically renovated the Grandfather Mountain attraction. If a visitor has a good time on our Mountain, you know Appalachian Architecture had a hand in it.” Crae Morton—(former) President, Grandfather Mountain

  • Skills/Tools Used - 6,220 sq ft, Withstands winds in excess of 130 mph