Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Distinctive Architectural & Design Styles of Mexico

Architecture in Mexico is one of the most important parts of this rich culture and the wide variety of styles can be seen in the interiors and exteriors of buildings & homes throughout the country. Many use natural, artistic and historical materials with rich and colorful brilliance. From haciendas to columns to palapas...the focus of design is on textures and materials, including wood, metal, leather, paper, fiber, tiles, ceramics, silver, and stonework.

And due to it's vast history, Mexican style celebrates variety and beauty, easily mixing cultures, heritage and natural influences. The houses of Mexico combine the heritage of the Toltecs and Mayas with that of the French and Spanish. Furthermore, the land itself is a strong influence with different styles of architectures seen in all the regions of Mexico due to varying climates and landscapes, from seashore to desert to jungle to mountaintop.

Furthermore, the Mexican obsession with color is everywhere and as a culture they use color to dramatic effect in textiles, clothing, homes, marketplaces, art, interior design, and architecture. Color is everywhere - vibrantly painted walls display a rainbow of hues, hand painted tiles cover every available surface, and traditional Mexican folk arts adorn walls and furnishings. And traditional Mexican exteriors are colorfully demonstrated with intricate details worked into the facades, doors, gates, terraces, columns, fountains, pools, stone work and gardens.
Below are just a few of the distinctive architectural styles you will find in Mexico...and maybe they will lend some inspiration to those who are dreaming of building a home here.

Mexican Country
This design style can be found along old coastal villages and in colonial mining towns, with a focus on simple, robust country tables, workbenches, storage trunks, corral gates, and old, heavy doors. There is a variety in the style, design, and shape but you will most always find a variety of old vessels and carved wooden objects...from milking stools to grain-measure boxes and sugar molds. The design pieces reflect a rich local history. Many of the home feature mesquite-carved beams and re-purposed old doors and are filled with Mexican antiques and accents showcasing the rich heritage of Mexico.

The Hacienda
Mexican haciendas demonstrate a rugged, romantic beauty with arched silhouettes, rich colors, and natural materials. The hacienda design emphasizes solid simplicity, traditional architectural elements and handcrafted elements with a distinct Mexican style. Old-world architectural elements, Spanish Colonial antiques and Mexican country objects are mixed with contemporary art, creating a balance between old and new. Carved-stone columns, high-beamed ceilings and elegant arches offer views to tropical gardens and swimming pools; massive antique doors, cool tiled floors and spindled windows are set against deep red walls. Generously-sized living rooms are common, as are decorative stencils, Talavera tile and Spanish colonial furniture. Originally dedicated to coffee, sugar, mezcal, and wheat production, many historical haciendas have been transformed into country homes, resorts, and restaurants.

Mission Revival
These are typically homes based upon historic mission churches built by Spanish colonists which have now inspired a new house-style known as Mission, Spanish Mission, or California Mission. These houses have many interesting features including smooth stucco siding, large square columns, arched entries with porches and red tile roofs. Celebrating the architecture of Hispanic settlers, the Mission Revival style houses can also feature arched dormers and roof parapets. Some even resemble old Spanish mission churches with bell towers with elaborate arches. Furthermore, deeply shaded porches and fairly dark interiors make these homes particularly suited for warm climates.

These homes are often considered to be contemporary homes with old-world style. It is a house style that incorporates a fanciful mix of details suggested by the architecture of Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, and Mexico in order to create a contemporary Mediterranean home. Many of these features include a low-pitched roof, red roof tiles, stucco siding, arches above doors, windows, or porches and heavy, carved wooden doors. These Mediterranean homes are not typically re-creations of Spanish Colonial architecture but more likely to resemble a sprawling ranch-style house.

The style of Adobe blends handcrafted details, natural materials (earth, wood & stone), and an elegant simplicity of living. The features and interesting aspects of adobe homes are many: sculptural walls with contoured corners and soft lines, fireplaces that replace traditional corners, carved nichos for displaying artwork, ceilings of exposed beams, earthen floors hand-troweled to a smooth finish, carved wooden doors, gleaming tiles, reflecting pools, and stone-paved courtyards. The adobe home offers rich surfaces that evoke a casual, timeless context and the style of Adobe traces its roots to ancient rammed earth homes used by Native Americans. Many decorative accents include colorful textiles, antique trunks, hardy wodden tables, glazed pottery, and handcrafted tin and copper mirrors.
No other dwelling is more indicative of being on vacation than the palapa—an open, airy structure whose most distinctive architectural element is its thatch roof, which is usually made from straw or palm leaves. This type of architecture is popular in tropical areas because of its ability to make the transition from indoor to outdoor spaces feel seamless. Originating in Mexico 2,000 years ago, palapas are ecologically friendly, are relatively simple to build, and work surprisingly well, given how ancient the construction process is.
A Palapa house allows for open living spaces and breathtaking vistas, making  the home oriented to the outdoors and total relaxation. This style of home offers infinity pools, walkways through richly landscaped gardens, and terraces that open to vast ocean vistas. Spacious, open cathedral-like palapas allow you commune with the natural surroundings like no other style of villa. Ocean breezes, crashing waves, fragrant blossoms, and vibrant colors sweep through living areas and sun terraces.

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