Rafael Guastavino was an accomplished Spanish architect when he came to the United States in 1881. His first major work was the Boston Library which made him famous in the East and soon caught the eye of George W. Vanderbilt, who commissioned him in 1890 to build the arches at Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Guastavino had developed and patented the technique, known as the Tile Arch System in 1885. He later built his own retirement home, a twenty-five room structure near Black Mountain. In North Carolina his work is found in Duke Chapel in Durham, the Jefferson Standard Building in Greensboro, the Motley Memorial in Chapel Hill, and Basilica Shrine of St. Mary in Wilmington. He is buried in the crypt of the Basilica of St. Lawrence, Asheville, which was one of his last projects.