Spanish Revival (1915-1940)

National Register #78000642: Saint Josephs Basilica in Alameda, California Saint Joseph's Basilica in Alameda
National Register #78000642
Built 1921
Photographed 20 November 2010
San Francisco Landmark 218: North End Police Station
North End Police Station
San Francisco Landmark #218
Built 1912
Photographed 6 January 2004
(Click Photos to Zoom)

The Spanish Revival style includes Spanish Colonial Revival and Spanish Eclectic. The Colonial style is based on Spanish architecture in the New World. The Eclectic style is based on Spanish architecture in Europe.

The Spanish Colonial Revival style immediately followed the Mission Revival style and shared many of the same architectural elements.

The style was popularized by the 1915 California-Pacific Exposition in San Diego and by the depots and hotels built by Fred Harvey for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in the Southwest. For many years, it was the style of choice for the mansions of the Hollywood stars.

Many Spanish Colonial Revival buildings have courtyards and enclosed gardens. The orientation is private and inward with simple, undecorated street façades.

The style borrows from many sources: California missions, New Mexico pueblos, Spanish Baroque, Spanish Colonial, Moorish, Byzantine, Renaissance, and Mexican Churrigueresque.

Some distinctive features of Spanish Colonial Revival buildings are:

  • smooth stucco walls and chimneys
  • ornaments of terra cotta or cast concrete
  • decorative iron trim
  • arcades supported by columns
  • carved and molded capitals
  • hipped, red tile roof
  • shaped parapet with coping
  • loggia
  • arched windows
  • casement windows
  • tall, double–hung windows
  • quatrefoil windows
  • paneled doors
  • balconies or small porches
  • canvas awnings
  • bell tower

Spanish Baroque and Churrigueresque

The term baroque was derived from the Portuguese barocco, translated as an irregular pearl or stone.

Between 1590 and 1720, Baroque architecture spread through Europe and Latin America, where it was particularly promoted by the Jesuits. The Roman Catholic Church was reasserting itself in the wake of the Protestant Reformation with displays of power, wealth and grandeur. The Spanish Court supported Rome by building churches and palaces in the Spanish Baroque style.

Baroque architecture was emotional, not rational. It created spectacle and illusion. Straight lines of the Renaissance were replaced with flowing curves. Domes were enlarged. Interiors were designed to produce spectacular chiaroscuro effects.

Churrigueresque is a Spanish Baroque style of elaborate architectural ornament marked by extreme detailing usually above the entrance on the main façade of a building. The style was named after the architect and sculptor, José Benito de Churriguera (1665–1725), who was born in Madrid of a Catalan family and who worked primarily in Madrid and Salamanca.

The Churrigueresque decorative style was used in Spanish Colonial architecture in the New World. In many churches and public buildings, the ornamentation seemed to trump all other architectural considerations.

The style became popular in the United States after the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego where many buildings were Spanish Baroque in design. Spanish Baroque and Churrigueresque influences were particularly popular in the design of the great movie palaces of the 1920s.


Name Year Address City Sort Address Sort Name
Alameda Veterans' Memorial Building19292203 Central AvenueAlamedaCentral 2203Alameda Veterans' Memorial Building
Alhambra Theater19262320-2336 Polk StreetSan FranciscoPolk 2320Alhambra Theater
Andalucia Building1926316-324 State StreetSanta BarbaraState 0316Andalucia Building
Animal Science Building 1928West Quad and Peter J. Shields AvenueUniversity of California DavisWest QuadAnimal Science Building
Balboa High School19341000 CayugaSan FranciscoCayuga 1000Balboa High School
Blue Anchor Building19311400 10th StreetSacramento Street 10 1400Blue Anchor Building
Building at 50 Fell Street193250 Fell StreetSan FranciscoFell 0050Building at 50 Fell Street
Castro Theater1922429 Castro StreetSan FranciscoCastro 0429Castro Theater
Corning Carnegie Library1915618 4th StreetCorning Street 04 0618Corning Carnegie Library
Don Lee Building 19211000 Van Ness AvenueSan FranciscoVan Ness 1000Don Lee Building
El Capitan Theatre and Hotel 19282353 Mission StreetSan FranciscoMission 2353El Capitan Theatre and Hotel
El Cortez Apartment Hotel1927702 Ash Street San DiegoAsh 0702El Cortez Apartment Hotel
El Paseo and Casa de la Guerra181915 East de la Guerra StreetSanta BarbaraGuerraEl Paseo and Casa de la Guerra
Fox California Theater1930242 East Main StreetStocktonMain E 0242Fox California Theater
High School of Commerce1926135 Van Ness AvenueSan FranciscoVan Ness 0135High School of Commerce
Hotel Californian 1923403 Taylor StreetSan FranciscoTaylor 0403Hotel Californian
Hotel Virginia191617 and 23 West Haley StreetSanta BarbaraHaley 0017Hotel Virginia
Hotel Woodland 1927426 Main StreetWoodlandMain 0426Hotel Woodland
Janssens-Orella-Birk Building19271029-1031 State StreetSanta BarbaraState 1029Janssens-Orella-Birk Building
Lemos House1933100-110 Waverley Oaks Court Palo AltoWaverlyLemos House
Madison House1926335 East Lake WatsonvilleLake E 0335Madison House
Mariposa County High School Auditorium 19365074 Old Highway North MariposaOld Highway 5074Mariposa County High School Auditorium
Mission Dolores Basilica1918Dolores Street at 16th StreetSan FranciscoDoloresMission Dolores Basilica
Mountain View Adobe 1934157 Moffett Boulevard Mountain ViewMoffett 0157Mountain View Adobe
Nevada-California-Oregon Railway Headquarters1917619 North Main Street AlturasMain N 0619Nevada-California-Oregon Railway Headquarters
Norris House19281247 Cowper Street Palo AltoCowper 1247Norris House
North End Police Station19122475 Greenwich Street San FranciscoGreenwich 2475North End Police Station
Old San Diego Police Headquarters, Jail & Courts 1938789 West Harbor Drive San DiegoHarbor W 0789Old San Diego Police Headquarters, Jail & Courts
Physicians Building 19262607 Fresno Street FresnoFresno 2607Physicians Building
Saint Joseph's Basilica19211109 Chestnut StreetAlamedaChestnut 1109Saint Joseph's Basilica
San Francisco Art Institute1926800 Chestnut StreetSan FranciscoChestnut 0800San Francisco Art Institute
Santa Barbara County Courthouse19291100 Anacapa StreetSanta BarbaraAnacapa 1100 Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Santa Barbara Main Post Office1937836 Anacapa StreetSanta BarbaraAnacapa 0836 Santa Barbara Main Post Office
Santa Fe Depot19151050 Kettner BoulevardSan DiegoKettnerSanta Fe Depot
Schuler Apartment Building 192638 North Oakdale AvenueMedford, OROakdale N 0038Schuler Apartment Building
Shriners' Hospital 19221601 19th AvenueSan Francisco Avenue 19 1601Shriners' Hospital
St. Helena Carnegie Library19081360 Oak AvenueSt. Helena Oak 1360St. Helena Carnegie Library
State Theatre19271489 Myers Street OrovilleMyers 1489State Theatre
Tracy Inn192124 West 11th StreetTracy Street 11Tracy Inn
United States Post Office1933120 4th StreetPetaluma Street 04 0120United States Post Office
Westminster Presbyterian Church 19271300 N StreetSacramento Street N 1300Westminster Presbyterian Church
Wheeler Hospital1929650 Fifth Street Gilroy Street 05 0650Wheeler Hospital
Sunshine School19352728 Bryant StreetSan FranciscoBryant 2728Sunshine School
Presidio Theatre193999 Moraga AvenueSan FranciscoMoraga 0099Presidio Theatre
Gaylord Hotel1929620 Jones StreetSan FranciscoJones 0620Gaylord Hotel
Hotel Del Monte1926Naval Postgraduate SchoolMontereyNaval Postgraduate SchoolHotel Del Monte

Architectural Styles | Architects