What is Mission Style?

The Mission Style has been called the “Californian Counterpart” of the Georgian based Colonial style that was sweeping the northeastern US in the late 1880’s. As the railway spread west, and resort hotels were built in the west, this new style arrived, basing its building forms on typical Hispanic features found on earlier religious buildings including arched covered patios, bell towers and smooth stucco walls. Red tile roofs were common, over wide overhanging eaves, supported by large square piers. Exposed beams and small awnings supported by heavy wood brackets provided visual relief to the plain walls, which were sometimes adorned sparingly with tile accents and decorations. Some Mission style home plans featured curved or stepped parapets, rising above a simple sloped roof. These early designs were either symmetrical or asymmetrical, and often featured a large rambling floor plan enclosing an open courtyard. Early Mission buildings were built from clay bricks, laid up into a thick wall covered smoothly with stucco. This building form suited small windows which with the light colored stucco exteriors helped to keep the buildings cool. Today the Mission style has regained popularity and is a practical aesthetic in warmer climates.

Mission Home Plans

Based on the aesthetic and building practices of Hispanic buildings, Mission home plans echo the character of the south west. These home plans feature smooth stucco walls, often simple adorned with tile inserts, sloped tile roofs, and small windows, set deeply into their thick walls. The walls often continue as sloped or stepped parapets, rising above the roofs to create a unique building form. Large curved arches between large square columns are common with this style of home plan. Light colored stucco walls and small windows help functionally to keep the buildings cooler in warmer climates and are also a defining feature of Mission home plans.


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