Spanish Architectural Style Defined
The Spanish exerted a strong influence in modern architectural details.
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Colonial architecture takes on a much broader appearance when it includes structures built in parts of North America other than the original thirteen colonies. Of all the countries that established colonies in the New World, only Spain would rival the English in the scope of architecture.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to establish a strong presence in the New World, founding a permanent colonial settlement in 1565 at St. Augustine, in the territory they called Florida.
Spanish Colonial buildings in the southwestern United States in the 18th century were low, long, one story buildings, with walls of adobe bricks or stone, sometimes slathered with lime wash or plaster. A covered porch ran the length of the facade. The interior of the house was similar to the exterior: Plain adobe walls, curved archways between rooms and ornamentation only on doors and windows. By the early 19th century, the homes were typically two stories, with three wings shaped in a "U", circling an enclosed patio or garden in the rear.
A variation of Spanish Colonial is Spanish Mission, a style most commonly found in early religious compounds of the Southwest. Spanish Mission incorporated Baroque elements and was characterized by primitive Indian building techniques, elaborate portals, twin ball towers and massive unadorned walls. Spanish Mission home design includes a curving dormer, quatrefoil windows, and roof parapets. Stucco exteriors are common, with orange or red tile roofs.
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