Syncretistic Vernacular Architecture Santa Fe, New Mexico

By Ben Shacklette.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the human endeavor to claim and sustain culturally relevant forms and spaces for living, architecture plays a dual role in defining and dissolving the physical and psychological borders between cultural groups occupying common domains. Santa Fe, New Mexico is a study of the transition from ancient market place to global market economy, balancing the need to sustain authentic internal community life with the necessity for maintaining a tourism industry that sells an ideal authenticity that is marketable to consumers who are external visitors or newcomers. The subject of this paper is the Westside/Guadalupe Historic District, established in 1983. It is the most recent of five regulated historic districts in Santa Fe. The Westside originates from seventeenth century pre-industrial building methods and land use patterns associated with agricultural based societies that in many instances were extended family settlements. Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, Westside dwellers blended Anglo and Hispanic customs and attitudes creating a hybrid form of building that is largely the product of owner-as-builder intuition. A predominant characteristic is growth by accretion and modification that often produces an eccentric ad hoc result that can be described as vernacular or folkloric. This paper claims that the Westside community is a relevant example of a self-generating community building process. A complete mapping of the Westside is presented in detailed graphic analysis followed by a series of architectural case studies that document, in measured drawings and analytic graphic detail, significant traditional vernacular building typologies and technologies. This research demonstrates a localized community process of sustainable design through the syncretism of various regional and national influences.

Keywords: Community Building, Culture, Psychological Borders and Domains

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 10, pp.157-176. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.750MB).

Prof. Ben Shacklette

Professor of Architecture, College of Architecture, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA

Professor Ben K. Shacklette holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Texas Tech University and earned a Master of Architecture Degree at the University of Texas, where he studied under the late Charles W. Moore, FAIA. While at the University of Texas, he was awarded the Outstanding Master’s Thesis award in 1996. He is currently an Associate Professor of Architecture at Texas Tech University, where he has taught building design, urban design, building technology, drawing, and courses specializing in the study of vernacular dwellings and community development in the American Southwest. He has had numerous papers published in Journals of the American Colligate Schools of Architecture, and has presented his research and creative works at several conferences including the Environmental Design Research Association, The Association for Community Design, and the 36th International Conference on Making Cities Livable. Professor Shacklette has 35 years combined experience in Civil Engineering, Architecture, Graphic Design, and 20 years of service in Higher Education. His primary areas of interest, both in teaching and practice, are participatory design methods, critical regionalism, and community based design aimed at strengthening and maintaining historic contexts.

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