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Sanctuaries Of Spanish New Mexico
by Marc Treib
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From Library Journal
New Mexico's early Spanish churches are among the oldest buildings in the United States. Treib (architecture, Univ. of California, Berkeley) studied existing buildings and bolsters this architectural history/scholarly guidebook by fieldwork and formal analysis. Part 1 outlines environmental conditions, patterns of exploration and settlement by the Spanish, the baroque Spanish church as institution and building type, and its influence on New Mexico's colonial architecture. Part 2 comprises individual chapters on 30 mission churches constructed between the 1620s and the 1820s. Schematic floor plans, a clear differentiation between Pueblo and Spanish adobe construction techniques, and commentary on decay and inaccurate 19th-century restorations are unusual elements. This update of George Kubler's 1940 classic, The Religious Architecture of New Mexico , is recommended for all architectural and Southwestern collections.
- Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Utah
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Reading Treib's book in tandem with Spanish Missions of La Florida (above) offers a great deal of insight into Spanish fortunes in the New World. Many southwestern sanctuaries survive--no systematic attempt was made to destroy them, of course, but Spain's use of the adobe brick ensured sturdy and long-lasting structures. Treib's copiously illustrated, well-documented history incorporates not only Franciscan but commercial and Pueblo influences on Southwest architecture; while his is not a travel book, it would be possible to use Sanctuaries as a faithful guide for a meandering tour of the Southwest. John Mort
Among the oldest buildings in the United States, the churches of Spanish New Mexico--made of earth, of stone, of wood--are the surprisingly fragile reminders of a unique amalgam of Spanish architectural ideas and native American Pueblo culture. This book surveys the land and rivers, the people and ideas, that led to this compelling religious architecture; it is also a guide to visiting these churches today.
In the ninth century the Anasazi, progenitors of the Pueblo peoples, constructed refined architectural complexes at Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. Contact with the Spanish in the late 1500s transformed the world of these indigenous peoples, changing their agricultural and living patterns--as well as religious practices. These changes were manifest architecturally in the sanctuaries the Spanish constructed as missions for the Indians or as parish churches for themselves. First built roughly between 1600 and 1829, but continuing to be rebuilt into this century, they were made of the very materials composing the land itself.
In Part I, Marc Treib addresses the geographical, anthropological, and architectural aspects of church building in New Mexico and provides background on the church as both an institution and a building type. Part II presents thirty churches in depth and discusses such topics as sitting, construction in adobe and stone, the use of light, ornamentation, and the issues surrounding restoration.
Sanctuaries of Spanish New Mexico is the only book in print to include all the major church sites still extant. Richly illustrated, with specially prepared plans of the churches, it will be welcomed by architectural historians and anyone with an interest in the American Southwest.
About the Author
Marc Treib is Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, and the co-author of A Guide to the Gardens of Kyoto (1980).
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