c. 16th – 18th century
the Colonial Americas — Influences: European and African vernaculars, English medieval, Puritan and utopian beliefs, Spanish Baroque

Architecture in the New World between the 16th and 18th centuries was influenced by the settlers adapting their building methods to the materials available and blending their knowledge with that of the natives.

As European formed settlements and established cities, a variety of additional styles formed to include Mission Style, Colonial, African-influenced, Western Vernacular, and log homes.

Spanish Mission Style, United States

When missionaries established self-sustaining communities during the 18th century, a new style formed through adaptation to the environment and available local materials, blending Spanish Baroque building knowledge with that of the native laborers.

Over the centuries, this style continues to be popular, particularly in the areas in which missions were established, including California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida in the US, and in Baja California, Mexico.

California Spanish Mission

Between 1769 and 1833, Franciscans missionaries, led by Friar Junípero Serra, established 21 settlements along the coastline of Alta California to spread the Catholic faith among the native people. Spanish missionaries who moved into Alta California in the 18th century brought elements of their architecture with them. The influence of Spanish Baroque and Moorish architecture combined…

Spanish Colonial, United States

18th century

Spanish colonization of the 16th century was dominated by their Baroque architecture characterized by domes, bell towers, pinnacles, and arcades of columns. During the last half of the 19th century, neoclassicism began to take root during the French occupation. Today, UNESCO World Heritage cities preserve the beauty of Mexico’s history.

Hearst Castle

This lavish estate, inspired by Spanish Colonial and Mission style architecture, was the ultimate achievement of architect, Julia Morgan. The Hearst Castle remains a symbol of the extravagent wealth that peaked in the United States during the 1920s. Commissioned by media tycoon—newspaper magnate, film producer, art collector—William Randolph Hearst, this ostentatious country home was constructed in the…

Log Homes, United States

mid-17th century onward

Log construction was brought to the New World by European settlers of the middle colonies. A one- or two-room structure with simple gabled ends and a single chimney may also be built with planks or square-hewn timber filled with mud or other organic matter. This style came to stand for the independent spirit as American pioneers moved west.