I have had the great pleasure of finding myself in the Southwestern U.S. this year not once but twice. The geography, culture and style are completely unique from any other region in the U.S. and are immediately identifiable upon first site. As with most places that can trace their history back centuries, the style and architecture are a product of their people's need and surrounding environment. The heat, lack of water and sourcing of local materials are what determined how the structures in the region would look.
The Southwestern architecture and style are soothing and authentic. The adobe walls, soft/muted earth tones, brick, casement windows, long/narrow porches, rough-hewn woods, ironwork and cactus all symbolize typical details found in Southwestern design. This Southwestern style is a combination of the Spanish and Native American who lived in the area and has morphed and blended to create several different definitive styles:
- Pueblo Revival- adobe style, flat roof, wooden beams.
- Mission Revival- adobe style, white walls, courtyards, low-pitched clay tile roof, long arcades.
- Spanish Colonial- smooth plaster wall and chimney finishes, low-pitched clay tile roof or flat roofs, and terracotta or cast concrete ornaments, iron trim.
- Contemporary Southwest- is a mix of all the regional styles sometimes with updated materials.
Here are some of the photos I snapped in Arizona of the architecture and style elements used by its residents:
Iron sculpture in a courtyard in Old Town Scottsdale, AZ. Notice the ironwork on the doors and the white stucco walls.
White stucco walls adorned with a steer skull found in Old Town Scottsdale, AZ.
A colorful courtyard in Old Town Scottsdale, AZ. Notice the pottery, iron statue, brick and white stucco walls.
Gorgeous patterns found in pottery sold at a Navajo trading post in Arizona.
The colors of the Grand Canyon inspire.
Gorgeous catus found in Scottsdale, AZ.
Another exquisite patterned cactus found in Arizona.
Here are some of the scenes found in the old Stockyard section of Fort Worth, TX:
The brick streets of the Fort Worth Stockyards are lined with buildings built in every style of Southwestern architecture imaginable.
The Fort Worth Stockyard Exchange courtyard entrance has white stucco walls, steer heads, brick and a mission-style roof.
The Fort Worth Live Exchange is built in the mission style. Check out those arches, long arcade, iron work, clay tiles and neutral colored adobe walls.
The Fort Worth Cowtown Coliseum was built in 1908 as a livestock exhibition hall and continues to host rodeos at least 10 days each month. The building is a mission-style cultural center with gray-plastered walls, red-clay tile, arches, casement windows, an arcade, decorative corbels and more.
An iron statue found in the Stockyard courtyard. It is quite large and yes, that is a boot spur.
The red brick building found at 600 E. Exchange Place in Fort Worth is a good example of Contemporary Southwest architecture with its brick walls, arcade and white woodwork.
Fun double-water spouts found on the main street in the Stockyard.
Advertisement painted on the side of a brick building in Fort Worth, TX. Fort Worth is known as the “The City of Cowboys and Culture” and in the Stockyard you can see the world's only twice-daily cattle drive.
The elements of Southwest architecture utilize light/shadow, texture, vibrant colors juxiposed against stark earthtoned walls, iron work. brick and layering to create unique and beautiful design and style.