Spanish Colonial and Modern American Architecture

Today’s Culture with Travel guest post is by Jason Mueller

It’s difficult to compare Spanish Colonial architecture with modern USA architecture because American architecture is so varied and different. While Spanish colonial architecture is well-known for its mix of practical durable designs with baroque ornamentation, modern American architecture includes the practical skyscraper designs, Greek and gothic revival styles in government buildings and churches, to unique trends like the Cape Cod, Craftsman, and ranch style homes that you find all over the country.

Differentiating the two styles is simple to do when you compare northern sections of the USA to Spanish colonial architecture, but as you move down farther south you’ll find many examples of Mediterranean and Spanish-style homes that look nice in California or Texas, but that would blend right in in Mexico City, as well.

Characteristics of Spanish Colonial Architecture

Spanish Colonial architecture is a mesh of curves, stout building materials like stone and clay, and beautiful and outlandish ornamentation such as gilded carvings, stained glass windows, massive open windows without glass and highly detailed carvings and columns around the exterior of the building. Many of the Spanish Colonial buildings also feature towers or distinct features that really stand out.

Examples of Spanish Colonial Architecture
There are hundreds of different buildings that all serve as beautiful examples of Spanish Colonial Architecture. After looking at just a few of these buildings in person you’ll know what features you might want to incorporate in your own home as well. These buildings have been a great source of inspiration for me as I have pondered adding on to my own home.

Guadalajara Cathedral

Guadalajara Cathedral architecture

These beautiful buildings sit in Plaza de Armas and shows off a cool mix of Baroque styling, stout Spanish Colonial construction with a touch of Gothic. Standing inside the building and looking up will make you feel almost as if you’re a part of the building. The beautiful chapels seem to sing to you, while the stained glass allows dancing colors to shine in. Personally, the whole gothic atmosphere entwined into the structure helps one feel as if they are a part of the building itself. It’s easy to spend hours on end just romancing the notion that even in this modern day, you can sense part of a past that must have been filled with excitement and adventure that must have been enhanced due to the beautiful architecture surrounding the city. This is a must-see for those who enjoy a good tale and have always felt they were born in the wrong era.

Hospicio Cabanas

Hospicio Cabanas architectureThis massive building is a shining example of neoclassicism and shows off a few murals by renowned painter Jose Clemente Orozco. One of the most interesting of the buildings in my opinion, because of the history behind it. Serving as a hospital originally after being built in 1791 and was then used as an orphanage and a workhouse. While the design is simple, the variety of Mexican artwork from artist Jose’ Clemente Orozco, a very well-known Mexican muralist, throughout makes it a masterpiece waiting to be seen in person. When you combine beautiful architecture with amazing artwork, you will have a building like no other and this is precisely what Hospicio Cabanas is.

The Huge Variety of American Architecture

Architecture in the United States is impressively varied, largely because the country is made up of a bunch of immigrants from all over the world. You’ll find Mediterranean style homes with stucco, clay tile, and tile roofing, you’ll see Tudor style homes, a style straight out of England, more modern homes that use glass, and steel and massive windows and thin walls and beams, and old-school Victorian, Greek Revival and Gothic Revival style homes throughout the country. There are even some Spanish Colonial homes to be found throughout the United States, mostly in the deep southern portion.

Dressing up Your Home
It’s inspiring to look at all the different types of architecture that can be found across the United States as well as different parts South America and Spain today. Your own home can look like the architecture found in these. Just use your creativity to consider the many things that can be done to really make it stand out.

About the author: Jason loves to travel and embrace new cultures. He enjoys to surf and relax in the mountains on his free time. His companies website connects home owners and businesses with architects in the USA. 

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