Santa Fe’s Historic Adobe Architecture

One characteristic of Santa Fe that makes it stand out among other cities is the same thing that doesn’t stand out: its architectural style. The distinctive low-profile adobe buildings are made of earth and sun-dried straw. They come in a variety of soft earthen tones and have flat roofs and soft rounded corners making them blend in to the gentle slopes of the mountains surrounding the city.

From Albuquerque, we did a day trip into Santa Fe to explore the city and to meet up with fellow photographer Jackson Frishman, who was kind enough to treat us to a great lunch at The Shed, a well known local restaurant, and show us around town. Thanks Jackson!

While the architectural style was once simply a shared aesthetic, it is now required by law that new buildings and any renovations adhere to this specific style making the new appear old.

Please click the images to view larger versions.
Santa Fe, New Mexico

It was a white-sky day during our visit so I excluded the sky from many of my images and filled the frame with detailed elements of the buildings.
Santa Fe, New Mexico

For the next image, I combined three exposures to maintain some detail and colour in the sky.
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe also has a vibrant arts community which is revealed in the local shops which have a multitude of authentic local paintings, sculptures, pottery, and masks as well as unique clothing, jewelry, shoes, and more.

Share Button


  1. says

    You really captured the spirit of Santa Fe here Anne. I love the adobe architecture of northern New Mexico – so photogenic. Don’t know if you got a chance to visit Taos, but that is one of my favorite spots in the state.
    Russ Bishop recently posted..A Measure of WealthMy Profile

  2. Tamera James says

    Great shots Anne, We are heading out there in September and I cant wait. Living in Delaware we dont see anything like that and it will be a real experience.

    • says

      Hi Tamera, Santa Fe was very different from anywhere else I have been with the adobe buildings. I really like how they blend into the background so well and they just have a cool architectural style to them. Thank you very much for your comments and enjoy your trip!

  3. says

    That third image is quite extraordinary, Anne. Almost symmetrical at first glance and then you start to spot the subtle differences. You’ve chosen what must be the perfect POV. What a remarkable find
    LensScaper recently posted..BluebellsMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Andy, the third image was a hotel. I like how it turned out, but I think this type of architecture would also look great if there were some shadows so you get more of a feeling of depth. But I was only there for one day so I had to take what I was given. Thanks for your comments.

    • says

      Hi Len, I hope you enjoy your trip! Do you know Jackson? He lives in Santa Fe. Are you doing a photo workshop there? It was a pretty cool place and they had some great shopping too. I don’t actually like shopping so it must have been good if I enjoyed it. I didn’t buy anything, but I remember they had some really unique cowboy boots and leather goods. But really, what would I do with cowboy boots? :)

    • says

      Hi Edith, Santa Fe was a pretty cool place all right. We didn’t go to many cities, but it was worth the day trip. But my favourite part of New Mexico was White Sands.

  4. says

    Really nice Anne! I’m pretty jaded to adobe architecture and Santa Fe style, of course, but I still find these gorgeous. I really like the first with the juxtaposition of the rectilinear building with the organic vine, and the symmetry you captured in the third is really cool, I’ve never seen that building in that way. It was a real pleasure to have meet you and share lunch!
    Jackson Frishman recently posted..Wild RiversMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Jackson, it was a real pleasure to meet you and your wife and young son. I hope we can meet up again. I’m not sure when I’ll be where in the winter, but I’ll be sure to contact you when I get up your way again. I meant to ask you – are you not on twitter or google plus? I can’t find you. You’re missing out on G+… come join us! Thanks again for lunch and for your kind comments on the blog.

  5. says

    Hi Anne, hope you are very well…

    Santa Fe was one of my favorite places in the States, it had a real old timely feel and was nice and relaxed. I loved the arty sense of the place and felt really at home here. In fact I could see myself actually living here quite easily I liked it so much!

    Take care,

    • says

      Hi Mike, I am doing great thanks! I love my new lifestyle 😉

      I enjoyed Santa Fe too, although I really only got to see the main historic district. I’m sure there is a lot more to the city. New Mexico is a unique place all right. I remember going to a campsite and there was a sign out front that said the campsite was full. But there appeared to be some open places so we drove around to talk to the camp host and he looked at me like I was growing horns and said “This is New Mexico, that sign doesn’t MEAN anything!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge