Architecture / Style / Spanish Colonial

Chronology

  • 1600-1840 (Blumenson)
  • 1600-1850 (McAlester)

Description

The Spanish Colonial house in characterized as a low, long one-story building with a covered porch extending along the façade. Adobe bricks or stone were used for wall construction. The wall often was covered with a lime wash or plaster. Extending roof beams and porch posts were left round or roughly squared. By the early nineteenth century, many two-story houses were built with encircling porches and covered with wooden shingles. The rear of the house often faced an enclosed patio or garden. Churches or missions of Texas and the Southwest were vernacular interpretations of contemporary Mexican church building in the Baroque style. They were richly ornamented with churrigueresque-style decoration or simplified Renaissance-style detailing (Blumenson, 3). Also known as Spanish.

Adobe walls and wide overhangs of these buildings demonstrate the Spanish Colonial builders’ adaptation to climate and available materials in the American Southwest.

Variations

Leading Examples

Jose Maria Covarrubias Adobe (Blumenson, 3).

Governor’s House, Santa Fe, New Mexico (Blumenson, 3).

Mission San Luis Rey, near San Diego, California. This is a comparatively elaborate example of the vernacular adaptation of Mexican Baroque churches. Some mission churches were extremely simple adobe structures, retaining only a few vestiges of Baroque church design (Blumenson, 3).

Glossary

Sources Cited

Also see Architecture / Style index.