Adobe homes in the Southwest

St. Francis de Assisi Church in Rancho de Taos 

 

St. Francis de Assisi Church in Rancho de Taos

 

When people think of the Southwest and homes, many times they think of Adobe built homes.  I often get asked why all the homes are stucco and why there isn’t much adobe. 

I used to live in New Mexico, and know that real adobe homes are very labor intensive.  Mud bricks stacked together then more mud over the bricks to give the smooth texture we are familiar with. 

Super green, a great insulator, and the thicker the walls the stronger.  The St. Francis de Assisi Church in Rancho de Taos, well known for being photographed by Ansel Adams and painted by Georgia O’Keefe, has walls that are over 6 feet thick at the base.  The whole community comes together every year to re-mud the exterior.  The rain and snow make the natural dirt/clay walls soften and wash away.  Yes, the buildings last a long time, the church was built in 1815, and the Taos Pueblo is over 1000 years old.  Keeping up the mudding can keep the adobe standing indefinitely.

Meanwhile, stucco lasts a lifetime (not sure how many years that is) but with a fresh coat of paint every now and again, the work to maintain it is much less.

I love the look and feel of the real adobe homes, and I have been in many while living in Taos and Santa Fe.  They are a bit challenging to hang a picture on, when remodeling, taking down walls is not an option, making the stucco homes of Arizona much more practical.