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Albuquerque has been a desirable residence for 25,000 years, serving as home to
Sandia Man (Ice Age), and Folsom Man 15,000 years later. Three thousand years
ago, Indians built stone and adobe cities while farming the Rio Grande bosque.
Spanish missionaries and explorers roamed the area in the 1530’s, long before the
pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. The Spanish, Indian and Anglo cultures give
Albuquerque an enchanting blend of interests and activities.
Albuquerque is a Southwest hub, situated at the intersection of I-25 and I-40. The
current metro population is estimated to be over 600,000, which is about one-third
of the population of the state (1,653,000 people). It is the 38th largest city in the
country in terms of population. The pre-World War II population was only 35,000.
Albuquerque is roughly 133 square miles. The elevation ranges from 4,900 to 6,500
feet above sea level making it the highest metropolitan city in the United States. The
elevation is one reason why colors seem so intense by day and stars so clear at
The metropolitan area of Albuquerque includes the city of Albuquerque, the
surrounding areas of Bernalillo County, and the communities of Rio Rancho and
Corrales in neighboring Sandoval County. Albuquerque is divided into four quadrants.
Central Avenue is the dividing line for north and south. The railroad tracks serve as
the dividing line for east and west. Each quadrant has unique character-rich qualities.
Albuquerque enjoys four distinct seasons, but all are characterized by sunny days.
Summer temperatures rarely rise out of the 90’s. The annual rainfall averages about
eight inches a year. The humidity averages a comfortable 43%. Although
Albuquerque receives snow several times each winter, annual snowfall averages a
total of only 10 inches, which melts quickly. The mountains to the east of the city act
as a shield, protecting it from most arctic air masses and tornado activity.
This Spanish word for town has a more complex meaning
in New Mexico architecture. A Pueblo is an energy efficient system
of maximizing building shape, orientation and materials.
A building structure made of connected rooms that create a central miniature plaza,
This is a small patio-like area formed by two or more walls of the home.
The mid-1800s brought a combination of traditional flat-roofed adobe construction
with provincial Greek Revival details such as white porch posts with capitals,
moldings, triangular pedimented lintels over doors and windows, and fired brick
cornices capping walls. Introduced along with this style were glass windows, milled
lumber, fired brick, the central-hallway house plan, and pitched roofs. Usually the
structure was adobe walls with a few fired brick details.
Pueblo Spanish Revival style:
About 1905, builders began to revive the flat-roofed, stuccoed cubic forms of the
Pueblo and Spanish Colonial traditions. Sometimes called the Pueblo Revival, the
style draws terraced, multi-story forms from Pueblo villages, and portales, corbels,
corner fireplaces, and mission towers from the Spanish Colonial architecture of the
state. Therefore, this is more accurately called the Pueblo Spanish Revival.
Territorial Revival style:
Beginning in the early 1930s, architects revived the territorial era vocabulary of flat-
roofed, stuccoed forms with white, classical details and red brick cornices atop
walls. Used primarily in house design and at the state capitol complex, the revival
omits the pitched roofs that were part of the mid-1800s territorial style.
Adobe & Adobes:
building infrastructure, or bricks which were
historically made of adobe. Adobe as an
architectural style refers to originating from the
earth-it is simply earth and can return to the
earth Rammed adobe is a method of building
that creates a frame for the structure, permitting
adobe to be stuffed in lieu of bricks.
stripped of bark but not milled. These round
logs are placed at even intervals, usually
spanning the shortest room dimension. Often
they extend beyond the exterior walls, providing
aesthetic qualities to the exterior of the house
and sometimes providing support for shading
materials, which are laid on top.
candles, religious statues, and other
length of the building or between two wings, is
supported by vertical posts, often topped with
corbels or zapatas. Vigas or milled beams
provide the top structure, extending from the
side walls of the main structure. In historical
times, the top of the portal was finished like the
roof of a room or covered with cut branches,
easily removed in the winter to allow more sun
to be absorbed by the building's walls.
A carved, and sometimes painted wooden bracket used under ceiling beams or vigas,. A
double corbel bracket, sometimes called a zapata, is typically placed atop the log posts of
Native American place of worship and
ceremony. In this structure, fires were in pits
under the smoke hole in the ceiling. However,
in more modern times the term kiva is used to
define a certain type of fireplace. This fireplace,
introduced during Spanish Colonial time, is
found in the corner of the room and is bee hive
in shape, almost as an extension of the adobe
walls. Typically, a kiva has a low hearth rising
6" - 10" from the floor. The flue is round or
square, sometimes with a smoke shelf but in
Spanish colonial time, there was no damper. In
many cases, due to the shape and limited
depth of the firebox, wood is stacked vertically
against the back corner of the firebox. There is
no applied mantel but one that is integral to the
adobe which creates the exterior of the kiva.
Latillas (also spelled latias):
Small wood pieces, milled or not, cut to fit between vigas or beams. If placed at a 45-degree
angle to the vigas or beams, a herringbone effect is created. This architectural detail which
enhances the appearance of the ceiling was historically installed to help prevent dirt from
shifting down from the thick dirt roof. This was achieved by placing layers of thatch-like grass
above the latillas and below the layer of earth that created the roof.
the middle of the room and not in a corner, a
low wall, or paredcita, is built out from the wall
of the building and the fireplace, is then placed
in this faux corner of the room. In New Mexico,
this is sometimes referred to incorrectly as a
padrecito, or little father fireplace.
from the elements and is built of posts and
beams, and though the top has openings to the
sky, it is often covered to provide storage.
Unlike a portal, a ramada is detached from and
set apart from the house.
|Sandra L. Hildebrand
Cell (505) 463-0309
Office (505) 798-6300
|Helping People on the MOVE
Residential, Land and Commercial