The Spanish Revival Style

Prindle House, George Washington Smith, architect

The Spanish Revival style (1915-1940) includes Spanish Colonial Revival and Spanish Eclectic. The Colonial style is based on Spanish architecture in the New World. The Eclectic style is based on Spanish architecture in Europe.

The Spanish Colonial Revival style immediately followed the Mission Revival style and shared many of the same architectural elements. Its antecedents can also be traced to the roots of the Mediterranean Revival architectural style, which emerged first in the late 1800s.

The style was popularized by the 1915 California-Pacific Exposition in San Diego and by the depots and hotels built by Fred Harvey for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in the Southwest. For many years, it was the style of choice for the mansions of the Hollywood stars.

Many Spanish Colonial Revival buildings have courtyards and enclosed gardens. The orientation is private and inward with simple, undecorated street façades.

The style borrows from many sources: California missions, New Mexico pueblos, Spanish Baroque, Spanish Colonial, Moorish, Byzantine, Renaissance, and Mexican Churrigueresque.

Some distinctive features of Spanish Colonial Revival buildings are:
• smooth stucco walls and chimneys
• ornaments of terra cotta or cast concrete
• decorative iron trim
• arcades supported by columns
• carved and molded capitals
• hipped, red tile roof
• shaped parapet with coping
• loggia
• arched windows
• casement windows
• tall, double–hung windows
• quatrefoil windows
• paneled doors
• balconies or small porches
• canvas awnings
• bell tower

Mediterranean Revival
Mediterranean Revival is a design style introduced in the United States in the waning nineteenth century variously incorporating references from Spanish Renaissance, Spanish Colonial, Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance, Arabic Andalusian architecture, and Venetian Gothic architecture.

Peaking in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, the movement drew heavily on the style of palaces and seaside villas and applied them to the rapidly expanding coastal resorts of California and Florida.

Structures are typically based on a rectangular floor plan, and feature massive, symmetrical primary façades. Stuccoed walls, red tiled roofs, windows in the shape of arches or circles, one or two stories, wood or wrought iron balconies with window grilles, and articulated door surrounds are characteristic. Keystones were occasionally employed. Ornamentation may be simple or dramatic.

Spanish Baroque and Churrigueresque
The term baroque was derived from the Portuguese barocco, translated as an irregular pearl or stone.

Between 1590 and 1720, Baroque architecture spread through Europe and Latin America. Baroque architecture was emotional, not rational. It created spectacle and illusion. Straight lines of the Renaissance were replaced with flowing curves, and interiors were designed to produce spectacular chiaroscuro effects.

Churrigueresque is a Spanish Baroque style of elaborate architectural ornament marked by extreme detailing usually above the entrance on the main façade of a building. The style was named after the architect and sculptor, José Benito de Churriguera (1665–1725), who was born in Madrid of a Catalan family and who worked primarily in Madrid and Salamanca.

The Churrigueresque decorative style was used in Spanish Colonial architecture in the New World. The style became popular in the United States after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego where many buildings were Spanish Baroque in design. Spanish Baroque and Churrigueresque influences were particularly popular in the design of the great movie palaces of the 1920s.

Notable architects
Bertram Goodhue and Carleton Winslow initiated the style as the dominant historical regional style in California.

One of the most accomplished architects of the style was George Washington Smith who practiced during the 1920s in Santa Barbara, California. His own residences El Hogar (1916, a.k.a. Casa Dracaena) and Casa del Greco (1920) brought him commissions from local society in Montecito and Santa Barbara. An example landmark house he designed is the Steedman estate Casa del Herrero in Montecito, now a registered National Historic Landmark and restored historic house—landscape museum. Other notable works by Smith include the Lobero Theatre (Santa Barbara) and Jackling House (Woodside, CA).

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