Friday, April 20, 2012

Wrought Iron Hardware and the Spanish Colonial Revival

In architecture, a revival is a motif that recycles designs from a previous architectural period. Greek, Dutch, Gothic, and many other architectural themes have experienced periods of revival. In this entry of the Shop 4 Classics Old House Blog, we review the Spanish Colonial Revival which, as its name suggests, invokes designs from Spanish Colonial architecture.

The Spanish Colonial Revival started in the early 1900's. After reaching its peak in the 1920's and 1930's, it began to fade in the 1940's. While Spanish Colonial Revival homes can be found throughout the United States, they are most heavily concentrated in coastal areas of the Southwest and West. It is no coincidence that those areas also happen to be Spanish colonies from the prior century.

The Spanish Colonial Revival was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement that emphasized simple designs integrating regional building practices, materials, and history. In the case of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, those designs featured Spanish motifs with forms and materials native to the Southwest. Spanish Colonial Revival homes are most easily recognized by their earth tone stucco exteriors and red tile roofs. Typically a single storey, Spanish Colonial Revival homes are characterized by arched passageways, courtyards, and deep overhanging eaves intended to help cool the home in the warm climates most frequently associated with these homes.

Although dark bronze and cast iron architectural details weren't unusual, hand forged wrought iron hardware and accents tended to be the metal of choice during the Spanish Colonial Revival (see Forged Iron vs. Cast Iron). The hefty half-rounded entry doors of Spanish Colonial Revival homes were supported by iron strap hinges and accessorized with iron door knockers. Limited windows were usually tall casement windows with iron window hardware. Wrought iron fireplace screens and fireplace accessories decorated chimneys. Hand hammered wrought iron drawer pulls and iron cabinet knobs accented traditional Spanish style furniture and iron lighting fixtures hung from wooden beamed ceilings.

Its heyday has passed yet buildings and homes that recreate designs from the Spanish Colonial Revival continue to be built today. Spanish Colonial Revival architecture remains most popular in the Spanish influenced areas of the Southwest, as it has always been, but its impact can even be seen here in the Midwest in areas like neighboring Mission, Kansas.

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