Spanish architecture is comprised chiefly the adaptation and development of Renaissance architecture originating in Italy. When applied in Colonial America, Spanish Colonial was an architectural style best known by the simple adobe to imposing Baroque inspired missions of the Southwest. Domestic architecture was characterized by single story structures with flat or low pitched roofs, stucco covered stone or adobe brick walls, multiple doors, and sometimes verandas as well as courtyards (patios) with corridors (interior verandas). A Spanish Colonial Revival in the early 20th century featured ornate low-relief carvings highlighting arches, columns, window surrounds and cornices and parapets. Red-tiled hipped roofs and arcaded porches also are typical. Stone or brick exterior walls often are left exposed or finished in plaster or stucco. Windows can be either straight or arched. Iron window grilles and balconies also may be used. A molded or arcaded cornice highlights the eaves. The facades of large buildings often are enriched with curvilinear and decorated parapets, cornice window heads, and symbolic bell tower.
Specific examples of Spanish architecture include:
- Spanish Colonial, from 1600 to 1840
- Spanish Colonial Revival, early 20th century style incorporating elements of Spanish Colonial architecture
- Spanish Territorial style
- Spanish Bungalow, after 1910, emrged in California, the southwest, and Florida
- Spanish Eclectic style
- Spanish Pueblo Revival, originated in Santa Fe in the early 20th century
A number features characteristic of Spanish architecture have the name Spanish in them: Spanish cedar, Spanish Clay tile, Spanish roofing tile, Spanish tile, Spanish motif, and Spanish Order for a Corinthian Order with abacus embellished with lion masks rather than by fleurons.