What Is A Pueblo Revival Home?

The ancient, minimalist style of American architecture is more than meets the eye.

The namesake of Pueblo Native Americans, Pueblo architecture dates back to approximately 750 AD, far preceding any European settlement. A few of the indigenous structures which inspired the Pueblo Revival of the early 20th century, such as the Taos Pueblo of Taos, New Mexico, are still occupied today. Many early Pueblo homes are among the oldest, continuously-inhabited dwellings in the United States with over 1,000 years of history.

These sprawling, multi-family homes were traditionally made from adobe,a mixture of earth, water and straw which was dried by the sun into bricks. Influence from these early days gives Pueblo Revival homes a simplistic, almost primitive appearance—like you’ve been transported back in time to the pre-colonial Americas.

Modern Pueblo Revival homes emulate their predecessors while also borrowing themes from Mission architecture and Spanish Colonial style. Whether they are made of actual adobe, stone, stucco or mortar, the purpose of using these materials is to create an insulated structure that can withstand the harsh desert heat of the American Southwest. Adobe brick absorbs the heat of the sun during the day and keeps the homes cool into the night. After all, modern air conditioning wasn’t even invented until 1905!

During the early 20th century, references to this ancient style of architecture saw a resurgence in popularity with the Pueblo Revival. It found significant popularity in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, with Santa Fe being a particularly fervent adopter of the style. Most of these structures were built during the 1920s and ‘30s, such as the La Fonda Hotel. Constructed in 1922 in Santa Fe, La Fonda is a prime example of this distinctive style. This vast structure boasts authentic motifs such as stained glass windows, terra cotta tile and hand carved support beams.

Hodgin Hall at the University of New Mexico is another example of one of the first Pueblo Revival style structures in New Mexico. Originally built in 1892, it has been repeatedly renovated to preserve the Pueblo Revival style. In a more residential context, Pueblo Revival homes can be found all over the Southwest, such as this one designed and built by William Penhallow Henderson in 1922. Note the exposed vigas (rounded beams), adobe walls and signature skylights.

Some key characteristics of Pueblo architecture are minimalist, asymmetric exteriors and cozy interiors. Shaded courtyards were common among Pueblo-style homes as private outdoor areas that offered some respite from the heat. Because of the terrain, climate and materials available, Pueblo people didn’t build house frames entirely from lightweight wood like their European counterparts. For this reason, Pueblo Revival homes tend to have lower ceilings and are often staggered multi-level complexes with stepped massing. The thick adobe walls have a matte, rustic finish and rounded corners. The homes have flat roofs, often with irregular parapets (a barrier that extends over the edge of a roof). Vigas extend out from the walls in rows, protruding outside but supporting the structure from within.

If you’re looking for a stylish and historic home in the American Southwest, or are just trying to tap into your inner cowboy, a Pueblo-style home is your best bet on the market!