Haciendas, by Linda Leigh Paul, is a beautiful and well-written book that explores Haciendas.
The DeGolyer Estate in Dallas is the first hacienda discussed in the book and becomes the lens to look at the other haciendas from across the country and Mexico that are photographed and described.
Haciendas invoke visions of the rich history of the Southwest, California and Mexico.
Haciendas also give us a glimpse of the inspiration for the first Texas Modern houses built in the early 1930s by David Williams and O’Neil Ford.
This inspiration is also seen in the details used by Charles Dilbeck who took credit for introducing the first suburban ranch house, and the refined Texas modern houses designed by Frank Welch, FAIA, and other contemporary Texas architects. Haciendas and Texas modern homes share many similar characteristics. They are oriented to protect the home from the harsh environment and cool the houses with the many verandahs and porches, capturing the southeastern breezes in the summer. The details are hand-carved and hand-forged, the materials uses are indigenous to the region, and both haciendas and Texas modern homes have a deliberate added-on look and feel. Texas pioneers built the essential part of the home first and were constantly adding on as resources and time became available. Simple houses became compounds, with large rooms opening up to each other through oversized passage ways.
The homes were grand and modern, and rooted in the individual craftsmanship permeating the homes. Haciendas give us a chance to reflect on our history and to better understand the fundamental concepts of modern architecture.