Today's Spanish Style Home Courtyard is a derivative of the Mexican style home.
The Hispanic homes of history shows that that culture did not care for artificial heat, so that, although the modern houses and flats are sometimes equipped with fireplaces, these never take the place of his sun-warmed patio.
In the summer months the patio is as cool as it is warm in the winter, and the typical thick walls are resistant to heat or to cold and keep the inner rooms always relatively comfortable.
The chief characteristic of Mexican architecture is this patio, or inner court.
Public and business buildings, even the more modern ones, are built around endless chains of these courts, large, airy and filled with light.
The patio of the private house is the typical one, however. The great double doors from the street (true porte-cocheres) open toward the sunlit patio, a charming picture framed by the dark, stone-paved passage.
The patio in a Mexican house of the better class is filled with potted flowers, and sometimes has grass plots and walks, although the usual type is a cemented, flagged, or graveled space with a fountain in the center.
In the old days, when water was distributed by open gravity aqueducts, these fountains were often connected with the city water system and were the only source of water in the house. Where they were not connected… the fountain was the reservoirs of the day's supply, which was brought by the servants from the fountain in the near-by plaza.
The patio is flanked on all four sides by tile or paved corridors six to fifteen feet wide, upstairs and down, the floor and roof supported on stone arches or iron posts.
The stairway to the upper floor is usually in the corridor, open to the weather. The rooms which face upon the court (this is practically all because there are no outside rooms except those looking on the street) are fitted with narrow double glass doors, giving them their only light and air. Wooden shutters on the inside shut out the light when desired.
More… Spanish Style Homes History.
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