The exterior of this abandoned school gave me no clue that the walls were adobe, and even when I first look thorough (what was left of) the front door, I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing. I was about to call in the expert, my Patient Spouse, for his architectural opinion on it. The next window I looked through, though, confirmed it: that v-shaped hole in the wall is typical of the way adobe erodes and not at all the way masonry does.
But it still seems odd.
Causey, New Mexico
This is one of the oldest churches in northern New Mexico; the marker in front says it was founded in 1751 and that the building was built over a sixteen year period, beginning in 1760. The adobe walls are remudded periodically, and some of them are (again, according to the sign) as much as six feet thick.
The low wall around the churchyard is also adobe, a mixture of mud and straw. When you see it up close, it is sort of amazing that the church has lasted as long as it has.
San José de la Gracia church
Las Trampas, New Mexico
Well, someone likes contrasts, don’t they?
Generally, adobe walls are covered with a layer of stucco to keep the adobe from melting. The wall on the left shows what happens when the layer of stucco is left off.
The contrast between the adobe and the more permanent mortar makes interesting patterns of light and textures. And the contrast between the adobe wall and the smooth stucco one beside it provides another nice set of contrasts.
(I don’t know this for sure, but I think the Judd Foundation uses this particular type of non-stuccoed adobe walls around some of its properties. It’s artistic. I suppose.)