Architecture Of The California Missions Essay

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The Architectural History of the California Missions
(1769-1823)

You may already know that there are 21 missions today in the state of California. Starting in San Diego all the way past San Francisco, the missions remind us of an earlier time when the Spanish were colonizing Alta California. The California missions were started because the Spanish king wanted to create permanent settlements in the area of the New World called Alta California. The decision to create Spanish missions in California was political as well as religious. The Spanish government wanted to gain control in California before the Russians did. They also wanted to spread Christianity among the Native Americans (Johnson, page 5). Most of today's missions are
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The patio was one of the most important structures of missions; they were usually in the shape of a square, even though they were almost never a perfect square because they did not have the right tools to measure so they would measure the dimensions by foot. They would use this location to have religious celebrations, and other festivities; they would also use it as a refuge in case of attacks. Generally the basic elements found in the California missions are as follow: A patio with a fountain or a garden, solid walls, buttresses, arched corridors, curved or pedimented gables, terraced bell towers or bell wall, wide projecting eaves, broad underdecorated wall surfaces, and low sloping tile roofs (Newcomb, page ix). Every element of the mission had its purpose for example the patio had many uses like I explained earlier, and the buttresses were used as a support for the walls (Johnson, page 50). When missions were being started the materials were hard to be imported, this forced the fathers to make use of simple building materials and methods in the construction of mission structures. They had to obtain the materials that they needed from the land around them. Five basic materials were used in the construction of the missions: adobe, timber, stone, brick, and tile (Baer, page 42). For the walls they would usually use adobe. Adobe was made from a combination of soil and water, with chaff, straw, or manure so
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