The Spanish colonial revival style is the architectural design that appeared in the United States at the end of the 19th century, a style that is to be found in churches, in bank buildings, and in houses. This style is considered to have a Victorian origin, because it is precisely the Industrial Revolution that caused the re-contextualization of the past. Therefore, at the beginning of the 20th century, the two predominant styles that were used in the building of the suburban homes were the Tudor revival and the Spanish colonial revival style.
Evolution of the Spanish Colonial Revival Style
The Spanish colonial revival style flourished in the 1880s by borrowing a lot from the Georgian style buildings. At the beginning of this colonial revival, this Spanish style was almost the only domain of fashionable architecture preferred by the wealthy individuals. From the strictly architectural point of view, the colonial style has some common characteristics, be it Spanish Colonial style or Georgian.
The facde of the building is symmetrical with side porches or porticos, the classical cornice, the cupola, the entablature, the entry is decorated with transoms, sidelights, broken pediments, fanlight over the main entry door, the roof is made of slate tiles and wood shingles, the walls are of Flemish bricks, the windows are symmetrically arranged on the facade, with louvered shutters and straight window heads. The interior of these buildings are decorated with a grand staircase and with fireplaces.
The vitality, the inspiration, the integrity of the Spanish colonial revival style offer a Mediterranean air to the areas in which this style has been adopted. In fact, the Spanish colonial revival style is a mixture of ideas that have as a common feature the use of arches, of courtyards, plain wall surfaces, and tile roofs.
The various sources that inspired this colonial style made possible the creation of a harmony between the exterior of the building, the interior, the decorative elements, and the functional value of the construction.
Examples of Buildings Inspired by the Spanish Colonial Style
Some buildings of reference have been highly inspired by the romance that the Spanish colonial revival style has to offer. Such examples are found especially in Santa Barbara. In buildings like the Courthouse, El Paseo shopping arcade, the Fox-Arlington Theater, the Biltmore Hotel, and the Crematorium at the Santa Barbara Cemetery. There are other regions that have been highly influenced by the architecture of the old Spanish colonies, such as California, New Mexico, southern Arizona, Florida, and Texas.
The most obvious Spanish colonial influence is to be noticed in Santa Barbara where, in the 1920s, the Spanish colonial revival style was adopted and considered the official style in the city. A second Spanish era began in the architectural design in Santa Barbara in the 1960s.
The Spanish colonial revival style is too recognized in buildings such as La Casa Nueva in City of Industry, California, an 11,000-square foot Spanish Colonial Revival mansion that is especially famous for its stained glass, ceramic tile, carved wood.
In Long Island, NY, we are to find another landmark of the Spanish colonial revival style, namely the Vanderbilt Mansion, also known by the name Eagles Nest. This is a house built I three stages between 1910 and 1936 by the Warren & Wetmore architectural firm. In the same area lies another example of this style, the Caramoor house which comprises 20 rooms and even a museum that is open to the public.