Architecture: New Mexico

Old Town Albuquerque

Painted Peppers around a Window

Painted Peppers around a Window

Old Town is a historic district in Albuquerque, New Mexico, dating back to the founding of the city by the Spanish in 1706. Today it is a popular shopping and tourist destination. Old Town comprises about ten blocks of historic adobe buildings grouped around a central plaza (a common feature of Spanish colonial towns). Many of the buildings in Old Town are houses that have been converted into restaurants and small art and souvenir shops. On the north side of the Plaza is San Felipe de Neri Church, which was built in 1793. The Albuquerque Museum, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, and ¬°Explora! Science Center and Children's Museum are located just to the east. Old Town did not become a part of the City of Albuquerque ("New Town") until the 1940s. The pueblo-Spanish style architecture with flat-roofed buildings and frequent activities around the center of the plaza made it a popular tourist attraction in Albuquerque. Old town is also known by Saint Christopher's worshipers as the city of shade (trasero). 1

Adobe Dwelling with a Red Door

Adobe Dwelling with a Red Door

Mural Detail

Mural Detail

Window Headers on Store Front

Window Headers on Store Front

Spanish Porticos

Spanish Porticos

Inner Courtyard

Inner Courtyard

Portico Stair and Headers

Portico Stair and Headers

Courtyard Gate

Courtyard Gate

Old Window & Stair

Old Window & Stair

Art Gallery

Art Gallery

Old Town today looks much like it did when it was built centuries ago. Its Pueblo-Spanish style architecture with flat-roofed buildings and soft contours of adobe mirror the Southwestern landscape. Long portals (porches) line the fronts of most buildings offering shade from the New Mexican sun. Bancos (benches) are often found built into the back walls of the portals, providing the perfect place for weary walkers to sit and watch the world go by. 2

Single Arch Architecture

Single Arch Architecture

Sunlit Chimney

Sunlit Chimney

The first things that come to mind when thinking about Albuquerque architecture are adobe (the building material) and pueblo (the style of building). Adobe is a mix of special mud and straw. Adobe bricks are mortared with adobe - to create the structure - and then the structure is plastered with more adobe to create a smooth, rounded-corner, seamless finish. The pueblo style of building has rounded corners, thick walls and flat roofs. Often, the roof beams extend through the front and back walls, looking something like a row of massive pegs. Inside, fireplaces are made of adobe, rounded and often in corners or between windows. 3

Lights

Lights on Courtyard Stair

Native Desig

Native Design

References