Pueblo Revival Architecture

The flat roofs and earth-toned walls of the pueblo style were inspired by the simple structures of the Pueblo Indians.

This type of home, immensely popular in the Southwest, has deeper roots than almost any other type of American architecture. It developed in New Mexico and Arizona around the turn of the 20th century, borrowing from the simple, sleek multifamily structures erected by the Pueblo Indians starting in 750 A.D. Most modern versions of pueblo architecture (also called pueblo revival) have a heavy Spanish influence.

The traditional Pueblo Indian structures that are echoed in pueblo revival style complement their natural environment. Typically made of mud, their low profile and thick walls protect their occupants and regulate indoor temperatures in the harsh desert surroundings. Pueblo-style architects borrowed some of these ideas to create a look that paid homage to the region’s history.

Key Elements

  • Earthy materials. Pueblo-style homes are sometimes made of traditional adobe (sun-dried mud), but can also be built with concrete, stucco or mortar.
  • Massive wood components. Heavy doors, ceiling beams and porch posts are a striking counterpart to the smooth walls typical of pueblo architecture. The timbers used are called vigas and they’re usually exposed at the ends.
  • Enclosed courtyards. As traditional Indian Pueblos were organized around a common space, pueblo homes often incorporate a sheltered courtyard or patio.
  • Rounded exteriors with square windows. These reflect the look of the traditional Indian Pueblos.
  • Flat or sloping roofs with parapets. Parapets are low walls that extend above the roofline; drainage canals called canales sometimes extend through them.

Famous Examples

  • La Fonda Hotel. This Santa Fe landmark, built in 1922, not only serves as a prominent example of pueblo architecture, but also features the paintings, trimwork and decor of local artisans.

  • Canyon Road homes. Santa Fe’s Canyon Road, home to its fabled arts colony, boasts numerous examples of the city’s signature pueblo homes. Because of its dedication to preserving its historic pueblo style, Canyon Road was named one of the American Planning Association’s "10 Great Streets for 2007."

  • Las Acequias Ranch. This farmhouse north of Santa Fe is one of the hallmark creations of noted pueblo revival architect John Gaw Meem.

Practically Speaking: Hassles and Headaches

If you live in a hot climate, the eco-friendly advantages of a pueblo-style structure are hard to beat. The thick walls are superb insulation against the elements.

However, the flat roof common to pueblo-style homes can be prone to leakage. Older pueblo homes built with plaster rather than drywall are less susceptible to rotting, but they also may be built without the drainage aids that modern building codes now require. If you’re considering purchasing a pueblo home, don’t skip the inspection!

Lifestyle

The pueblo style arose not only as a tip of the hat to Native American cultures, but also as a way to brave the searing heat of the Southwest with style. Architects designed sheltered courtyards to promote a casual lifestyle that could incorporate the outdoors for relaxing and entertaining, no matter what the weather.


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