Mexican Architecture, observations

Architecture has always been a visual pleasure for me and these photographs represent a select few observations recently made in the Jalisco area. 

This may be too "geeky" for some but there may be others out there who admire the variety, style, and history that architecture represents.

If you'd like to see other selected images from the trip please visit the Instagram page at senorhinckley


Ahuacatepec -  A very old ranch home still occupied by descendants of original settlers.  Recently refurbished (exterior) and I point out the color choice, arches, tile roof, large arched gate - with separate pedestrian doorway to the left.  Original adobe construction technique is visible in places although much of that has been, over time, replaced with plaster covered brick.

  Aged and weathered adobe. A beautiful and functional gate.

Ameca - Example of a typical street-level window and civic architecture.

Street level window in a busy town.

  A city hall.

Amatlán de Cañas - (hot springs town)  1.  Example of the typical building construction style/technique with steel frame (instead of wood) beams between which is arched brick construction.  2.  Public market facade with characteristic embellishments.

Guadalajara - Example of civic buildings and both street and upper level windows and doors.

Mascota - Variations in building design and color choices that are indicative of the area.

  A cool color for an ice cream shop.

Mixtlan - A variety of residential home designs but all with a distinctive building method (brick and/or adobe), with terra cotta roofs and high privacy/security walls and steel window bars and/or shutters.  Color choices are usually bright and contrasting.  Gates for walled courtyards are almost always strong/sturdy and can be utilitarian or beautifully designed, even welcoming.  I found interior doors, separating parts of a home, are often made of thick/solid material sometimes even steel and bars.  Wooden exterior doors are usually thick and so are the walls between all parts of the home.   (This thickness is due to the adobe and/or brick construction and seems to serve to insulate the rooms and the exterior from penetrating heat.)  Also there were jumbo tile-lined basins for holding back-up water for cooking, bathing, washing, and flushing toilets when needed.
A family home.

A family home.

A family home. A family home.

A family home.

Layered frame construction.  Simple, effective, elegant.

  Hand cut beams.

  A tried and true construction technique.

  Method for venting the oven.

Steel interior doors.

Thick wood interior door and a view of the thick interior walls.

  Steel frame windows with bars don't have to be just utilitarian.

A beautiful example of a gate as seen from the street.

Another creative exterior gate design.

REAL cobblestone streets.

A large and deep basin for back-up water.

Puerto Vallarta - Most buildings are white with very few color variations.  Space is in demand and homes, condos, apartments, and hotels are built right up to the water and up the surrounding hills.   Rounded arches are common and so is the earthy terracotta color and roofing tiles.  Open air patios are common.  Tourism comment - Hotels frequented by Mexicans appear to be in poor upkeep as compared to hotels frequented by non-Mexican tourists.  Broken fixtures, broken tile, dirty tile grout, poorly executed repairs, and leaky or broken faucets are a theme.  The general appearance of “run down” pervaded all locations that catered to locals/Mexican tourists.  The Mexican tourist prices were less than those found in places primarily visited by other tourists (when compared to the exchange rate on the U.S. $) and yet that lower price came with seemingly lowered expectations for functionality and upkeep. Even the service was different.  Wait staff, living off of tips only, were not rude but, rather, gruff or abrupt and behaved as though they didn’t want a tip or didn’t expect any.  (Proviso - my experience was limited, so who knows if that is typical or unique…although the comment about conditions was consistent with two geographically separate Mexican tourist locations I visited. See also Amtlan de Canas hot springs hotel.)  Also note - At all points along the journey restroom facilities were consistently terrible (dirty, broken, not functioning) or cost a fee to use or access...or simply were never intended for public use.  It was not uncommon for Mexicans to urinate or defecate alongside a road/bush rather than spend a few hard earned pesos paying for the use of a toilet that was, on average, in a condition that was worse than just going behind a bush.

A restaurant stop on the way out of town.  Some walls and a roof but mostly open air.  Basically just providing the much needed feature of SHADE.

San Sebastian del Oeste -  A beautiful mountain town.   Here are examples of patios, gates, roof construction, second story open air patios and cobble stone streets.

Two, almost three, stories of abobe.

I had to include these hand-made and modular circular stair steps.

Talpa de Allende - Example of color choice for a church that seemed, to me, so typically "Mexican."  More examples of building design, construction materials, and a typically Mexican tile shape.
Pretty and seems so typically Mexican.

Likewise, a green church.

Example of the stone construction with the distinctive embellishments.

To me this shape just says "Mexico."

Tonala - Examples of civic building design, building materials and color choices.  (Note the public building used to be bright red with colored tiles as accents.  I don't know why it changed.)

  This building was once bright red.

Another example of color choices and building facade design.