Architecture

Santa Fe Style

Warm adobe walls, cool courtyards, kiva fireplaces, and quaint niches are the dominate features in Santa Fe architecture. This unique blend of traditional Spanish and Native American design elements gave rise to an architectural phenomenon known as Santa Fe Style.

The prominent feature of all Santa Fe building styles is the use of adobe (or modern day replicas) as a central trait. Comprised of mud and straw, adobe was originally chosen for its temperature regulating properties and simple composition. Today, real abode is considered quite luxurious because of its labor intensive requirements, but is much admired for its authentic look and feel.

While most visitors identify only one building technique in Santa Fe, there are actually several. Chief among these styles are Spanish Pueblo, Territorial, and Northern New Mexico. Spanish Pueblo style typifies Santa Fe Style with contoured adobe walls, flat roofs, vigas (beams), latillas (juniper branches used in ceilings), nichos (small shelves carved in walls for displaying objects), portals (patios with a fixed roof and beams), and kiva fireplaces. Territorial style, which harkens back to the Old West, also features flat roofs and Pueblo features but is modified with sharp corners, brick coping along the roof, and milled woodwork details such as lintels (exposed beams) on window frames. Northern New Mexico style is another hybrid of a Pueblo style building featuring a pitched tin roof.

Green building that incorporates solar energy, water catchment systems, and sustainable building materials has a home in Santa Fe as well, thanks to an environmentally conscious population. Contemporary architecture also finds its way into the Santa Fe design vernacular, pushing what’s deemed acceptable and complementary to Santa Fe Style.

All of these elements combine to create a unique, rich and evolving architectural style that embraces its inhabitants in comforting warmth.

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