Although the structures of the

Southwest are powerfully simple in

form, they contain a strong tradition of

ornament. This is usually highlighted in

doors, gates, light fixtures, and

handcrafted building hardware. The

courtyard tradition, a logical response

to the climate, creates opportunities

for U-shaped and L-shaped structures

as well as comfortable entryways and gardens.

The province’s strong light offers high potential

for sustainability as the ever-present sun can be

harvested for heating and energy. Designers and

builders throughout the Southwest have returned

to the area’s historic roots. From San Diego to

Albuquerque, people seek architecture that

defines the Southwest as special and distinctive.


Figure of sign kiosk with desired characteristics:

• Open roof with lattice for shading

• Organized graphics


Figure of picnic tables with desired characteristics:

• Recycled plastic/wood members

• Simple form

• Accessible


Figure visitor/interpretive facility with desired characteristics:

• Low cluster of horizontal buildings

• Structure creates shading


Pueblo, Territorial, and Spanish Colonial Revival

designs are now the norm in new housing,

commercial, and civic projects. Chain restaurants

and motels have also appropriated these styles.

As we strive to define the Forest Service’s

identity, we must be aware of the potential to

trivialize the province’s distinct design. Care

must be taken to incorporate elements of

Southwest style without resorting to clichés

or quasi-historical replicas.


Figure of ramada picnic structure with desired characteristics:

• Exposed structure, lattice for shade

• Split-face block

• Stepped walls


Figure of administration/interpretive facility with desired characteristics:

• Long, open porch

• Horizontal form


Figure of Toilet building with desired characteristics:

• Split-face concrete block with ribbed block details

• Native plant materials


Figure of administration/interpretive facility with desired characteristics:

• Soft stucco edges

• Territorial influences

• Punched, vertical windows


Figure of maintenance/work facility with desired characteristics:

• Low, horizontal form

• Pueblo influences


Figure of Interpretative/shade structure with desired characteristics:

• Native stone matching local geology

• Indigenous influences

• Open lattice roof for shade only


Figure of maintenance/work facility with desired characteristics:

• Economical construction, but with Southwest expression

• Ornamental banding


Figure of guardrail, wall, and culvert with desired characteristics:

• Native stone dry-laid in horizontal, random pattern

• Finished culvert end




Chapter 4.8 Table of Contents

Reader’s Guide