Mediterranean architecture has been resonating with people for over a century. It is all over South California and Florida; really all across the United States. The historic Palmcroft neighborhood of Phoenix has many great examples as do some of the other more modest neighborhoods. There great homes built in the last few years in the North Scottsdale area. I am talking about true Mediterranean architecture not what Realtors love to refer to as Tuscan.
Why is it so appealing? Architect & writer Rexford Newcomb describes it this way: Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Byzantine – Mediterranean types generally – instead of being kept architecturally segregated, are under this orchestral process merged, as were those golden threads of long ago, into a new sun loving style which, while eminently American in its plan and utilities is never the less distinctly Mediterranean in it’s origins and spirit. Real estate promoters and developers as early as 1890 realized that they could entice people from the Midwest with promises of the Mediterranean climate and fertile landscape. They sought not to copy the architecture of Italy and Spain but to capture its character and mood.
Typical characteristics of Mediterranean architecture include white stucco walls, red tile roofs, and an emphasis on outdoor spaces, including interior courtyards, terraces and loggias. The importance of outdoor living is one of the reasons they are so popular in Arizona. Many of the homes are L-shaped, U-shaped courtyard or arranged in a rambling fashion so that the main room have access to the outdoors. Details are iron, carved wood work, decorative tiles and fountains.
The Mediterranean house has endured over the years; adapting to architectural fashions through out the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Its overall simplicity and integration of indoor and outdoor living spaces give it an ease & intimacy that we still love today.
Simple entrance to a Mediterranean home in Pasadena
A small Hollywood home from the 1920’s. Garage entrance is prominent with the home winding down and around the rear courtyard.
An intimate courtyard for relaxing and recharging.