Santa Fe’s Crown Jewel: An Architect’s Perspective

For this final installment of places to see in Santa Fe, instead of highlighting just one single building, I invite you to stroll the northeast side of Santa Fe. This entire neighborhood, from roughly Hillside Avenue to Upper Canyon to Camino de Cruz Blanca, is what gives Santa Fe its defining look. At this point in time, it represents a relatively small portion of our city—yet it serves as the standard by which all buildings built in the last 50 years are gauged. The Historic Review Board keeps an eagle eye on any proposed changes to each home in this corridor—to the chagrin of some and the delight of others.

Santa Fe Style


What I most enjoy is the diversity revealed within that standard. Canyon Road is one of the must-see destinations of Santa Fe and the heart of the art market, but walk one street over to Acequia Madre. The “Mother Ditch” road is rich in brick and stone, thick adobe walls of every shape and the deep red and blue accents of windows and doors. Joining this street is Camino del Monte Sol, where the first artists built their own, early versions of Santa Fe Style. Camino Santander and San Acacio are both well off the beaten path. It would be hard to find streets that have more local flavor.

If you are thinking of building here, a stroll through this neighborhood can give you a wealth of detail on which to draw. Explore on two feet instead of four wheels, soak in the atmosphere and take away the sense of individuality that goes beyond adobe walls to make the true bedrock of Santa Fe Style.

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