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Spanish Colonial Revival Mediterranean Revival Style

Spanish Mission -- Spanish Colonial -- Spanish Colonial Revival -- Mission Revival Style -- Pueblo style
Quapaw Baths William S. Hart's “La Loma de los Vientos”, a 22-room house atop a prominent hill in Newhall, California, designed by architect Arthur R. Kelly and built between 1924 and 1928 Interior of Hamilton Air Force Base headquarters building, facility #500, built in 1934 in Novato, California
C.E. Toberman Estate in Hollywood, California, completed in 1924 Frank H. Upham House in Altadena, California, completed in 1928 Serralles Castle in Ponce, Puerto Rico, completed in the 1930s
Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture

A private home built in the style.

The Spanish Colonial Revival Style was a United States architectural movement that came about in the early 20th century, starting in Florida as a regional expression related to both history and environment. The Spanish Colonial Revival Style was also influenced by the opening of the Panama Canal and the overwhelming success of the novel Ramona. Based on the Spanish Colonial style architecture that dominated in the early Spanish colonies of both North and South America, Spanish Colonial Revival updated these forms for a new century.

Early champions of the Spanish Colonial Revival include Orlando, Florida architect Frederick H. Trimble whose Farmer's Bank in Vero Beach predates the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 in San Diego. The San Diego Fair has been credited with drawing national attention to the aesthetic potential of this style.

The movement enjoyed its greatest popularity between 1915 and 1931 and was most often exhibited in single-level detached houses.


The antecedents of the Spanish Colonial Revival Style can be traced to three northeastern architects, New Yorkers John Carrère and Thomas Hastings of Carrère and Hastings and Bostonian Franklin W. Smith. These three designed grand, elaborately detailed hotels in the Spanish Colonial idiom for St. Augustine, Florida in the 1880s. With the advent of the Ponce de Leon Hotel (Carrère and Hastings, 1882), the Alcazar Hotel (Carrère and Hastings, 1887) and the Casa Monica (later Hotel Cordova) (Franklin W. Smith, 1888) thousands of winter visitors to the Sunshine State began to experience the charm and romance of Spanish Colonial architecture.

These three hotels were influenced not only by the centuries old buildings remaining from the Spanish rule in St. Augustine but also by The Old City House, constructed in 1873 and still standing, an excellent example of early Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.

The possibilities of the Spanish Colonial Revival Style were brought to the attention of architects attending late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries international expositions. For example, California's Spanish-style stucco mission-meets-mansion at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago[1], along with the Electric Tower of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1900[2] suggested the potential of Spanish Colonial Revival, although both were admixtures with porticoes, pediments and colonnades that were clearly influenced by Beaux Arts classicism as well.

By the early years of the 1910s, adventurous architects in Florida had begun to make Spanish Colonial Revival their own. Frederick H. Trimble’s Farmer’s Bank in Vero Beach, completed in 1914, is a fully mature early example of the style. The city of St. Cloud, Florida, espoused the style both for homes and commercial structures and has a fine collection of subtle stucco buildings reminiscent of old Mexico. Many of these were designed by architecture partners Ida Annah Ryan and Isabel Roberts.

Design Elements

Spanish Colonial Revival architecture shares many elements with the very closely-related Mission Revival and Pueblo styles of the West and Southwest, and is strongly informed by the same Arts & Crafts Movement that was behind those architectural styles. Characterized by a combination of detail from several eras of Spanish and Mexican architecture, the style is marked by the prodigious use of smooth plaster (stucco) wall and chimney finishes, low-pitched clay tile, shed, or flat roofs, and terra cotta or cast concrete ornaments. Other characteristics typically include small porches or balconies, Roman or semi-circular arcades and fenestration, wood casement or tall, double–hung windows, canvas awnings, and decorative iron trim. Probably the most famous Spanish Colonial Revival Architect in California was George Washington Smith who practiced during the 1920s and 30s. Perhaps his most famous house is the Steedman House in Montecito, CA, now a museum called the Casa del Herrero

Structural form
Rectangular or L-plan
Horizontal massing
Predominantly one-story
Interior or exterior courtyards
Asymmetrical shape with cross-gables and side wings

Weitze, K. (1984). California's Mission Revival. Hennessy & Ingalls, Inc., Los Angeles, CA. ISBN 0-912158-89-1.
California, New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida inherited a distinctive arthitectural legacy from the days of Spanish colonisation. Especially noteworthy were the Franciscan missions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These attractive buildings mingled the exuberant richness of Spanish Baroque with a sturdy, plain solidity which reflected a dependence on local, unskilled labour and the use of sun-dried adobe blocks for the construction of walls.
As early as the 1880s the now-crumbling missions in California, together with Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel Ramona, were being used to create a popular image of a romantic, idealised Hispanic past—an image that drew many settlers to California. Almost immediately, some California architects—among them A. Page Brown, Albert C. Schweinfurth and Willis Polk—started to evolve a Mission Revival style. From the 1890s to the mid- twentieth century and beyond, mission-inspired architecture prospered in the United States. Addison Mizner did much to popularise the idiom in Florida during the early 1920s. Hollywood stars of the inter-war years also gave the style a boost by favouring it for their luxurious, well-publicised homes—as did the press baron William Randolph Hearst when he commissioned Julia Morgan to design his grandiose San Simeon. While many such buildings completely lack the monastic virtues of simplicity and reticence, Spanish Mission is still an appropriate label. It was the aura of romance surrounding the old missions, rather than architectural specifics, which generated and maintained enthusiasm for the style.
This style is based on Spanish colonial and Mexican buildings that were built in California, Texas and the American Southwest between the early 1600s and the 1840s. The style regained popularity as a revival style during the 1920s.

Common characteristics are:

-brick or stucco walls
-twisting columns and decorative shields made of terra cotta
-round arched windows
-elaborately rounded roof parapets based on Spanish colonial missions
-clay tile roofs