Pueblo Revival

Santa Fe, NM. The Inn and Spa at Loretto, opened 1975. The rounded, stucco surfaces and projecting vigas are a hallmark of this style.

PERIOD OF POPULARITY:  1912 – 1940 (also known as Santa Fe Style, remains popular in the Southwest today.)

INTRODUCTION TO REVIVAL STYLES: Each revival style identifies specifically with an architecture of an earlier time and place, especially those related to early American or European precedents. Several popular revival styles are included on this blog, though other, less popular revival styles also appeared. To classify this grouping of architectural styles presents a challenge, as one could argue that many earlier Victorian styles were similarly revivalist. In fact, one publication includes several revival styles within the larger category of Victorian architecture (Cunliffe, et. al. 2010). The concept of “period styles” has also been adopted by some writers (including this one), though it was an early 20th century term used by non-professionals to romanticize the past. On the flip side are the architectural historians who prefer the more academic “Age of eclecticism” or “Eclectic Era,” which is an important concept to provide historical context here. The Eclectic Era, however, includes both revival and early modern styles that competed ideologically and appeared nearly simultaneously before the Great Depression. For purposes here, then, “revival styles” seems most appropriate, adapted widely across America for use in middle-class homes, wealthy country houses, commercial buildings, early skyscrapers, and civic buildings. Though overlapping with the more picturesque Victorian era, these styles largely gained popularity during the first two decades of the 20th century and heavily influenced our residential and commercial landscapes.

During this time (mostly between 1900 and 1929), accuracy of styles became important once again, unlike Queen Anne style, which borrowed from a variety of sources. Most Important, revival styles look to the past for inspiration. The trend toward revivalist architecture gained momentum from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, the Columbian Exposition, where historical interpretations of European styles were encouraged. Simultaneous to the rise of revivalist architecture, the modern era saw its beginnings with architects who were instead looking to the future, not to the past, with more progressive, modernist styles. Thus defines the Eclectic Movement of the early 20th century, which consisted of a simultaneous and perhaps competing interest in both modern and historic architectural traditions. This variety, or eclecticism, provided for one of the most diverse and colorful periods for architecture and urban design in American history, when almost anyone with at least a middle-class income could choose from one of a dozen or more styles for their home.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND FEATURES: Just as the Mission style was the “California counterpart” to the Northeast’s popular colonial revival style, the Santa Fe style was a reaction to the Mission style of southern California. Basically, the “taste-makers” of Santa Fe and the state of New Mexico wished to distinguish themselves from the spreading image of southern California. Also, with New Mexico gaining status as a new state in 1912, the development of the new style was perceived as useful to attract tourists and promote the new state’s own identity (as perceived by Anglo-Americans there). Instead of “The City Beautiful,” as other cities responded to the City Beautiful movement, Santa Fe became marketed as “The City Different”.

The style was basically inspired by a mixture of Spanish Colonial, mission, and Indian Pueblo architectural forms. Prior to its prolific use in Santa Fe, early prototypes of the style appeared in California during the 1890s and later at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. It quickly became the regional style of Anglo-American, northern New Mexico after 1912. Thus, it is often referred to as Santa Fe Style. The first structure to gain the new style in Santa Fe was the Palace of the Governors. Features include flat roof with parapeted wall, gently rounded edges to walls, stucco cladding, and vigas (thick, round roof beams) extending out of the roofline. More recently, the style has become popular outside of New Mexico, in places such as Arizona and southern California. Still, its core area consists of northern New Mexico and the style still creates a distinct (even if contrived) Anglo-American identity for the “Land of Enchantment”.

For More Photos of Pueblo Revival on Flickr, Click Here.

Santa Fe, NM. A pueblo revival parking garage near the plaza.


Santa Fe, NM. Projecting vigas, smooth surface, rounded parapet above the roofline, and brick veneer designed to appear weathered and crumbling.


Santa Fe, NM. c. 1922. La Fonda Hotel, which was acquired by the AT&SF (Santa Fe) Railway in 1925 and leased to the Fred Harvey Co. Interior designed by Mary E.J. Colter.


Santa Fe, NM. c. 1922. La Fonda Hotel, which was acquired by the AT&SF (Santa Fe) Railway in 1925 and leased to the Fred Harvey Co. Interior designed by Mary E.J. Colter.

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  1. […] of the historic buildings.  Architect John Gaw Meem, who changed the look of Santa Fe, added the Santa Fe  Pueblo Revival look back in the 1933. You can see some historic SFIS photos here. The faculty housing being […]

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