That variety of architecture which the world knows as "Spanish" goes back in history a good many centuries.
Indeed the beginnings that gave rise to architectural expression in Spain were similar in character to those
which gave rise to building endeavors in other sun-lit lands of the Mediterranean area.
It is no "historic accident" that the Roman palace, the Greek house, the Roman villa , and the Spanish residence
were all disposed around an open court. This similarity in plan, if not of detail or of decoration, is mute testimony
of the influence of climate the heat of the sun in these favored lands around the Classic Mediterranean. Thus the
primitive impulse to produce an artificial shelter from the sun has operated to give to all Mediterranean architecture
a character the like of which the world has witnessed in no other.
in the Iberic peninsula Spain had time to evolve. Thus, by the time that ships and navigation made possible the migration of peoples and the exchange of ideas, Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Greece, and Rome had acquired civilized traits and an artistic prowess worth passing on to their
less-advanced brothers of the Mediterranean basin. The salient message
of all Mediterranean architecture is its reaction to climate, its essential
sunniness, its emphasis of light and shade. This quality is apparent in its
every line, be it plan, elevation, roof, or decoration.
Spanish art and particularly Spanish architecture is therefore of assured Roman origin, round-arched, rhythmic, and sun-loving, subsequent events introducing other wonder
fully interesting features.
The type of house which emerged from the vicissitudes of Spanish
history is one eminently adapted to life in sunny lands and, like the town
houses of Greece and Rome, it turns a relatively "bleak and bare"
fachada (face) to the street, reserving its greatest interest and most joyous aspects for the interior, and particularly for the patio, which becomes in the heat of summer, and during the sunny hours of the whole year, an
outdoor living room. This, then, is the whole spirit of the type of house
that, with the conquering of the New World, was introduced into the
Indies, South America, Mexico, and the Spanish areas of the United States.