Driven by a need to draw tourism, after the railroad bypassed Santa Fe, Pueblo style architecture was popularized in the early 19th century by a group of artists and town leaders seeking to establish a unique regional identity. In 1957, a committee led by John Gaw Meem drafted the Historic Style Ordinance, which mandated the use of the Pueblo or Territorial Style on all new buildings in the Santa Fe historic districts. This ordinance remains in effect today, meaning the Pueblo Style continues to predominate in specific areas of Santa Fe. This ordinance was driven by economic development; but no doubt, if this ordinance was not enforced, what would Santa Fe look like…“any city USA”? The preservation of Santa Fe Style has been wonderful for our city; Santa Fe is in the top 3 cities on “Condé Nast’s” 2010 list of top cities to visit in the United States, based on the popularity of its food, art, and yes, architecture. Condé Nast Traveler”: 2010 Readers’ Choice Awards
I had the distinct privilege of working closely with the Historic Review Board and an amazing architect, Dan Featheringill (who also serves the community by sitting on this important board) on a recent two-year project in one of the historic districts of Santa Fe. The one hundred-year old home was approximately 900 square feet, needed a severe facelift and the client required it to be doubled in size. As you may know, in a historical district the elevations of a contributing house cannot change and you cannot build a second story. So….what options are left? Of course, you dig and dig!
Feather & Gill Architects designed a beautiful plan to create a full basement under the 100-year old house while maintaining the primary elevations of the contributing historic structure. The structural integrity of the building was certainly lacking and had to be re-engineered. This was no small feat. Two months of digging by pick and shovel then hauling the dirt out by bucket was very slow going. The basement now features two very large closets, a guest bedroom, a full bathroom outfitted with a Japanese soaking tub, and a dance studio/entertainment room. A bonus downstairs was a laundry room equipped as a secondary kitchen with an extra oven, freezer module, refrigerator module, full size washer and dryer and a dumbwaiter to take the holiday dinner to the main floor! The homeowner is very happy!
Working with the Historic Design Review Board is not burdensome or tedious, the outcome is sensational. What are needed are licensed design professionals working in tandem to create a home for a client who loves living in the historically preserved district of Santa Fe. If you have a project in a contributing district or a non-contributing district, it is advisable that you work with licensed design professionals in order to achieve your vision, meet your budget and communicate with the Historic Design Review Board in an effective way. Cheers to Santa Fe Style Architecture and wishing you all a joyful and peaceful 2011!