Santa Fes Pueblo Revival

By: Jason Couillard

Traditional adobe architecture is alive and well in New Mexico, particularly near the state capital, Santa Fe. Here, elegant pueblo-style buildings dominate the skyline in crisp, straight lines and right angles, solid brown exteriors, and flat roofs. It's part of what drives Santa Fe's thriving tourism economy, and part of the reason local real estate is constantly in demand with buyers from all over the nation. Anyone getting involved in the Santa Fe area real estate market should consider brushing up on this popular building form before buying or selling.

Santa Fe's trademark architectural style is called the Pueblo Revival look. While in first appeared in Ventura, California in commercial buildings by A.C. Schwinfurth in the 1890s, Pueblo Revival was popularized soon afterwards in New Mexico, and now appears almost exclusively here. During the early 20th century Pueblo Revival was the logical choice by local governments to promote as a unified building style, and help Santa Fe make a name for itself. At that time Santa Fe was in economic decline following the loss of a major railroad, and the closure of nearby Fort Marcy by the federal government. The Pueblo Revival look helped the city switch gears, and become a major center in the Southwest for tourism and the arts. Based largely on ancient and centuries-old Southwest building techniques, Pueblo Revival was a natural fit here, and soon became synonymous with the name Santa Fe.

The first Pueblo Revival style buildings in New Mexico were Hodgin Hall at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the Palace of Governors Santa Fe. After New Mexico was granted statehood in 1912, Pueblo Revival became the norm in Santa Fe, reaching its greatest popularity in the 1920s and 30s, and given legal backing in 1957 by Santa Fe's Historical Zoning Ordinance, which mandated the use of traditional styles on all new buildings in the city center. With the ordinance still in effect, Pueblo Revival continues to define the look of downtown Santa Fe, and many residential neighborhoods throughout the area.

While Pueblo Revival is based on the adobe look, many buildings built in the style use brick or concrete complemented by irregular parapets, rounded corners, and thick, battered walls to simulate traditional construction. Many Pueblo Revival buildings also feature wooden roof beams projecting from the exterior walls.

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