Eagles Nest Architecture Series: Southwest Ranch – Spanish Inspiration from the American West

Presented by: Eagles Nest Architectural Committee

Southwestern ranch style architecture is a revival of the Spanish haciendas built in the American west before 1920 whose designs were derived from a Spanish colonial architecture.  It is quite different from the ranch-style ramblers of the mid 20th century that followed in mass production.  Early southwestern ranch homes were mostly agricultural compounds that served as both a residential dwelling and the ranch business.  They were well adapted to this lifestyle, the desert climate and regional methods of construction.

Southwest Ranch

Southwest ranch style homes were large rectilinear compounds designed around large, open floor plans where all of the major rooms flow one into the other for livability and flexibility.  Construction employed thick walls, exposed trusses and usually a large central fireplace that provided a large stone mass that added structural integrity to the building.  Many designs incorporated internal courtyards similar to Spanish designs with open porches used for shaded circulation and for a gentle transition from the contrasting indoor and outdoor environments.

Southwest Ranch Interior

Southwest ranch homes have a number of distinguishing exterior features, including a long roofline with low pitched gable roofs covered in clay tile or metal (corrugated or standing seam) that are reminiscent of the rugged materials that were effective and durable in extreme weather conditions from heavy rains to the harsh sun.  A traditional designed southwestern ranch-style home will use a mixture of stone, stucco and rough-hewn wood elements and large windows.

Southwest Architecture

Southwestern ranch architecture inspired the community theme of Eagles Nest with its local cultural roots, rugged simple geometry and organic colors and textures that blend well with the surrounding environment.