Taos Style #7: Spanish-Pueblo & Mission Revival

Those that would look backwards were led by the talented architect John Gaw Meem as well as the architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp. These two powerhouses of great design fused a revival of both the Pueblo and the Spanish Colonial styles into a fused whole that is unique to New Mexico. This architectural style is called Spanish-Pueblo Revival. In Taos, the greatest examples of this style are located at the Harwood Museum in LeDoux street, Casa Benevides B&B on Kit Carson, the Hotel La Fonda on the Taos Plaza, at the Sagebrush Inn on Paseo del Pueblo Sur, and some extraordinary modern fusion-style homes on Blueberry Hill just northwest of town.

Click here to see a list of Spanish-Colonial Revival Style Architecture Traits

Within 30 years of statehood, New Mexican architecture had evolved dramatically. Where before her structures were very nearly purely vernacular - being heavily influenced by the ideals of simplicity and economy - buildings in the early 20th century became, well… architectural. They were formalized, codified, and elaborated upon to distinguish the frill and fluff from the necessary. Those that could afford to emphasize grand design did so, and those that would or could not opted for various adaptations of the precedent styles, often using them in new and innovative ways. Some great Taos examples of this quality of experimentation and playfulness in using modern American design forms within an New Mexican framework include the Mission Revival McCarthy house on the corner of Paseo del Pueblo Norte and Bent Street, the playfully Chinese-detailed Twirl next to the Alley Cantina behind Camino de la Placita, the hodge-podge of styles and influences that is the Couze-Sharp historic site on Kit Carson, and the Hanuman Temple, the once-spiritual home of Ram Dass and Neem Karoli Baba, at 416 Geronimo Lane.

If it is true, as Brooke Hindle suggests, that architecture is a “three-dimensional embodiment” of history… then it is clear that the history of New Mexican architecture is a story about several very distinct groups of similarly strong and independent people, who appreciate simplicity and celebrate life… as opposed to possessions.