Mission Revival

Mission Revival style—also called California Mission or simply Mission—was part of the Art & Crafts movement in the early part of the 20th century. Taking its character from the Spanish Franciscan mission churches of the Southwestern US, it was especially well adapted to warm climate areas like California and the deserts. It's popularity was fueled by the success of Arthur Page Brown's California State Building shown at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The style was subsequently adopted by Santa Fe Railway for its train stations. Other creative boosters sought to distinguish Southwestern regional architecture by creating Mission style resorts and public buildings for tourists.

Like other Art & Crafts architectural forms, Mission style also incorporated well-crafted inglenooks and built-in cabinetry, beamed ceilings, and handmade metal details like cabinet hardware and lighting fixtures. Interiors often had rough plastered walls with curved corners and coved ceilings. Tile accents are may be found but usage is restrained. In the Southwest, clay tile floors cool interiors spaces during the warm season.

Originating in the West, Mission style was popular from about 1900 to 1940. Though most popular in California and the desert Southwest, the style diffused from West to East instead of vice versa with many fine examples occurring throughout the country.

The style is quite simple with covered archways and half-rounded windows, smooth stucco walls that mimic the adobe walls of the Spanish missions, and flat or shallow sloped tile roofs. Towers and roof parapets are often found, Extended roofs may form covered arcades with large square pillars or columns—a feature that allows building interiors to remain relatively cool in hot climates.

As the Mission style evolved there was significant borrowing from both the Craftsman bungalow and Prairie School styles. A contemporary version of what might be called Neo-Mission is currently a very popular house style throughout the Desert Southwest.

General Characteristics

Mission style houses incorporate many of the following characteristics: