of Building Terms
Adobe Mud brick made of clay and sand that is dried in the
sun, usually stabilized with straw.
Banco A sculpted bench made of adobe and covered with
plaster. Usually is set into the wall or formed from the
Bull nose Plaster Plaster shaped in a curve around window
and door openings
Canale A roof spout that carries water off a flat pueblo
Casita Small residence or
Clavo Spanish for "nail",
used recently to refer to a decorative pattern of nails.
Corbel A projection from the face of a wall
or lying on top of a post supporting a beam. Also
known as zapata.
Cornice A horizontal decorative detail on the top
edge of a
building or cabinetry.
Concave plaster formed between vigas.
Fence typically made of cedar poles set upright.
Gringo Blocks Wood blocking set into an opening in an
adobe wall to attach doors or windows; also known as "rough bucks"
Hacienda Large House
Horno Freestanding beehive-shaped adobe bread oven found
outside at most pueblos and
Kiva Fireplace A small beehive-shaped interior
Latillas Small branches or poles used as ceiling planking
or lath made of
aspen, pine or cedar.
Lintel Wooden beam bridging window or door openings.
Manta De Techo
Cotton muslin tacked on the ceiling, under the vigas to catch dust.
Nicho Small niche carved into a wall.
Parapet A low protective wall or barrier at the edge of a
balcony, roof, bridge, or the like
Portal A porch or roofed outdoor area adjacent to the
Saltillo Tile Simple fired earthen tile made in
Stucco Final cement color coat plastered in the exterior
Talavera Tile Colorful hand-decorated Mexican tile used
counter tops and trim.
Vigas Round logs used as ceiling beams,
either shaved or raw.
Ancestral Pueblo Indians; the "Ancients".
entrance between the outside and an enclosed patio
Things You Hear In Santa Fe
Arroyo Dry riverbed
Acequia Irrigation ditch.
Alameda Spanish for "Cottonwood Tree.'' This word has come
mean a road bordered by cottonwoods.
Bosque Low-lying area near rivers, densely forested with
cottonwoods and other deciduous trees.
Camino Spanish for road
Farolito "Little Lantern", typically a paper bag with a
ballast and candle, lighted for Christmas festivities. Referred to as a
Luminaria outside of Santa Fe.
American religious structure, often round.
Luminaria Fire built on the sidewalk on Christmas Eve for
carolers to gather around.
Paseo Passage or walkway, or ``to promenade.''
Piñon Tree High-desert nut-bearing evergreen tree.
Plaza Main town
Puerta "Door" in Spanish.
Santo Image or
statue of a saint or holy person.
upright cabinet or closet
Ventana "Window" in Spanish.
Traditional Pueblo houses have many of these features:
- Massive, round-edged walls made with adobe
- Flat roof with no overhang
- Stepped levels
- Rounded parapet
- Spouts in the parapet to direct rainwater
- Vigas (heavy timbers) extending through walls which serve as main
roof support beams
- Latillas (poles) placed above vigas in angled pattern
- Deep window and door openings
- Simple windows
- Beehive corner fireplace
- Bancos (benches) that protrude from walls
- Nichos (niches) carved out of wall for display of religious icons
- Brick, wood, or flagstone floors
Due to Spanish influence, Pueblo Revival houses often have:
- Porches held up with zapatas (posts)
- Enclosed patios
- Heavy wooden doors
- Elaborate corbels
About the Pueblo Style
Since ancient times, Pueblo Indians built large, multi-family houses,
which the Spanish called pueblos
(villages). In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Spanish made their own
Pueblo homes, but they adapted the style. They formed the adobe into
sun-dried building blocks. After stacking the blocks, the Spaniards
covered them with protective layers of mud.
Pueblo Revival houses became popular in the early 1900s and are
still a popular style in the southwestern regions of the United States.
These modern-day Pueblos might not be made of adobe. Instead, some
contemporary adobe homes are made with concrete blocks or other
materials covered with adobe, stucco, plaster, or mortar.
There are several variations on traditional Pueblo architecture:
- Pueblo Deco. Combining Pueblo Revival with Art Deco
architecture, these homes are decorated with geometric patterns and
Native American designs.
- Santa Fe Style. This type of Pueblo became the standard in
New Mexico after it was defined by the Santa Fe Historic Zoning
Ordinance of 1957.
- Contemporary Pueblo. These are stripped down, unornamented
Pueblos without posts, beams, or vigas.
- Territorial Pueblo. With the coming of Americans to
New Mexico, architectural elements such as pitched roofs, square
corners, window and door openings are cased with wood moldings.
Simplified 19th century architectural styles made out of wood were
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