A Guide to Southern Arizona Architecture

November 24, 2016

Arizona is an old state with so much history and diversity, so it should be no surprise that our architectural designs are as varied as our people. Arizona homes are known for their unique charms and features, and if you are new to Arizona, you will likely encounter some home styles and architecture that you won’t see anywhere else in the United States.
When early settlers came to the Wild West states, they came from all around the world, each bringing with them their own regional architectural ideas and traditions. When they arrived, however, they were influenced by the existing architecture and design of the earlier Arizonan settlers, the Spanish colonials. Building on existing styles and melding them with the styles of their homelands, Arizonan settlers had developed a wholly new type of architecture and home design.

A Touch of Spanish Influence

When looking at homes in Arizona, it may strike you that many of them have a similar color palette and primary building material. The Santa Fe style sometimes referred to as Territorial style, is one of the most common types of homes seen throughout Arizona.
Santa Fe homes are typically a blend of Spanish and native Pueblo-style builds, are usually one story, and finished with stucco on the exteriors. Inside, you’ll find more rounded edges, tall ceilings with exposed beams, and Southwestern colors like oranges, beiges, and creams that reflect the surrounding desert landscape.
Sante Fe homes also feature flat roofs, covered porches and patios, natural stone walkways, and minimalist landscaping with rock gardens and native plants.

A Blowing Mediterranean Breeze

One of the more common home styles that you’ll see often in the Old Pueblo, especially if you’re in the market for luxury homes, is the Mediterranean Style home. Hailing from lands like Italy and Portugal, the Mediterranean-style home is a sight to behold, and it looks perfectly natural in this lush desert landscape surrounded by tall palm trees and tall ornamental grasses.
These homes often come in two stories, and they are notable for their terraces, courtyards, and sun-swept balconies, all designed to make the most of abundant sunny days we see in Arizona.
In the homes, you’ll find cool tile or terracotta floors, warm colors, and high arches, welcoming you from room to room.

A Dash of Envious Green

In a land blessed with nearly year-round sunshine, it should be no surprise that Arizonans take advantage of clean and green technologies, and build homes to meet this technology. Contemporary architectural designs have been booming in Arizona over the last decade, and that means building with sustainable, eco-friendly materials and roofs designed to harness the power of the sun.
These homes utilize recycled building materials, bamboo and reclaimed wood flooring, and high-performance windows. Most important in the Contemporary design is the flow of energy toward the outdoor entertainment space, so you’re likely to see some custom stone barbecues, floor-to-ceiling glass, stone patios, and walkways, and ponds full of fish and greenery to make the outdoor space absolutely enchanting.

A Little House On (or Off) the Prairie

When driving through Arizona, you’re likely to see some very angular homes along the way. These homes are done in Prairie style, and they are largely influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright who introduced this new architecture to the United States.
Wright grew up on the prairie, where sweeping, flatlands went on for miles. The central focus on the Prairie home style is the horizontal and vertical lines, meant to fit in perfectly with the natural landscape. The homes often feature low, sloped roofs, stout chimneys, and overhangs in all directions to beat the heat.
The interior design of Prairie-style homes is traditionally open, allowing the family unit to pass from room to room. Exteriors include colored brick, stucco, and wood in horizontal patterns, keeping the home perfectly in tune with the flat desert landscape. 


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