Map of Southwest Province States including:

Southern California

Southern Nevada

Southern Utah

New Mexico

Western Texas

Arizona

 

OVERVIEW: CHARACTER OF THE SOUTHWEST

PROVINCE BUILT AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS SOUTHWEST

Southwest Province

The Southwest’s natural environment ranges

from semiarid to extremely arid. Torrid summers

give way to bitter cold winters. The relative lack

of timber and abundance of stone has helped

shape a distinctive regional design.

 

The Southwest Province is home to the oldest

building traditions in the United States. When

Spanish explorers arrived in the 1500’s, they

encountered native pueblo settlements already

hundreds of years old and Anasazi ruins that

are the oldest structures on the continent.

Influences on Southwest design include the

Native American building model that influenced

Spanish colonists. From southern California to

central Texas, centuries of Spanish-Mexican

presence created a design heritage well adapted

to climate, geography, and scarcity of water.

Built forms often are simple but exquisitely

scaled and detailed. In today’s Southwest, visible

remains of Native American and early European

settlement are preserved and celebrated. These

design traditions endure in contemporary

structures.

 

Although diverse, the Southwest contains a

strong, unified sense of cultural identity. Cultural

traditions remain alive because the source

cultures are still vital. For example, reservations

in the province host dozens of sovereign Indian

nations. Many landowners can trace their

ancestral properties to land grants made by

Spanish kings.

 

The air-cooled, post-World War II era brought

an influx of residents from other parts of the

country, particularly to booming cities like

Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Tucson, and Phoenix.

They have imported their own expectations

and tastes.

 

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