In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Here Are 4 Interesting Styles of Spanish-Inspired Architecture

santa cruz style balconies

Hispanic Heritage Month offers much to be celebrated. Today we’re taking a closer look at beloved Spanish-inspired architecture across the United States. From residential homes and commercial spaces to civic buildings and places of worship, the style has had a direct influence on American cities and towns. In that spirit, here’s a glimpse at its history and evolution in U.S. landscapes.

Tracing back the roots of Spanish-inspired architecture

The U.S. began embracing Spanish architecture toward the end of the 1800s. This came through in several iterations. Spanish colonial style homes may be the first to come to mind. The Colonial Revival, which featured a modern take on colonial-era architecture, took off in the early 20th century before peaking in the 1940s. You can still find its signature style (more on this below) peppered throughout the United States.

The truth is that Spanish Revival architecture extends well beyond colonial style homes. It inspired a variety of different designs and themes that are now woven into America’s architectural identity.

The Mission Revival

mission revival style architecture

Spanish missionary communities, which were commonplace in the South during the 1500s to 1800s, went on to inspire Mission Revival architecture. The style is unmistakable, even to those who don’t have an architecture degree. Arch-framed windows and entryways, stucco exterior walls, square towers and scalloped porches (better known as parapets) are some of its defining characteristics.

The look eventually spread beyond churches and was seen in homes, cottages, bungalows, and more. You might still notice them in residential areas that were constructed between World War I and World War II.

The Spanish Colonial Revival

Spanish colonial revival home

This style originated during the Spanish Colonial period, lasting into the 1900s. It endured and eventually became enmeshed in the Colonial Revival. The movement was a throwback of sorts to colonial-era architecture, though more traditional architecture inspired by the Spanish Renaissance did take root during this time as well.

Spanish Colonial homes typically feature red tiled-roofs made of clay, thick white walls, visible support beams, and an overall simplistic look fit for the countryside. You’re most likely to come across this style in the southern states, particularly in California and the Southwest.

The Pueblo Revival and Territorial Style

Also known as the Santa Fe style, this Spanish-inspired architectural style took off in the early 20th century and still persists today. It’s especially popular in states across the Southwest like Arizona and New Mexico. As the name implies, the style was inspired by the Pueblo Indians, but has a Spanish twist.

Adobe and stucco are common building materials for these homes, which are known for their angular shapes and sheltered courtyards. The Pueblo Revival style has a natural way of blending into the surrounding desert landscape. It’s a look you’ll find throughout Southwestern cities, in homes and businesses alike.

As the 20th century moved forward, architects and builders began leaning toward the Territorial style. Some see it as the natural evolution of the Pueblo style, which is similar in shape and look. The territorial style is unique in that it favors smooth stucco in place of rough walls. You’re also more likely to see cleaner, more defined line work and pops of color that depart from traditional earth tones.

The Monterey Style

monterey revival style home

By the late 1800s, different architectural styles from the east and west began playing off of each other, thanks in part to the railroad. The Monterey style is a blending of the Spanish Colonial and New England Colonial looks. More often than not, they have two levels with second-floor porches or balconies — the hallmark of this style, often seen in California towns like Monterey. It isn’t uncommon for these homes to also tout plaster walls and exposed beams.

These styles all have their own unique point of view, but their Spanish-inspired roots are the common thread that connects them.

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