La plaza de San Luis de la culebra

Material Information

La plaza de San Luis de la culebra
McClow, Laura J
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
47 leaves : illustrations, maps ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Plazas -- Designs and plans -- Colorado -- San Luis ( lcsh )
Plazas -- Designs and plans ( lcsh )
Plazas ( fast )
Colorado -- San Luis ( fast )
Designs and plans. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Designs and plans ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 46-47).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Architecture, College of Architecture and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
Laura J. McClow.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
19958258 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 1988 .M255 ( lcc )

Full Text
Laura J. McClow
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the School of Architecture and Planning University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture

This thesis for the Master of Architecture degree by
Laura J. McClow has been approved for the Architecture Program School of Architecture and Planning
Gary J. Crowell Faculty Advisor
Phil Gallegos Faculty Advisor
Bob Horn Faculty Advisor
Gail Karn Faculty Advisor
Gary Long Professional Advisor


PROBLEM STATEMENT.......................................2
THESIS STATEMENT........................................4
Community Action in Revival of Economy............5
Architectural Revival.............................6
Design Intentions................................11
THESIS DESIGN..........................................14
Concluding Statements............................
APPENDIX A.............................................
Case Studies:
Architectural Revival.......................14
Neighborhood Participation..................15
Farmers' Markets............................26
APPENDIX B.............................................32
Program Requirements
APPENDIX C.............................................41
Site Analysis
APPENDIX D.............................................44
Codes/Zoning Requirements


Cities across America have succeeded in initiating a dramatic turnaround in formerly depressed areas by reviving the architecture characteristic to a blighted neighborhood. Case studies also reveal that a successful urban renaissance has two additional elements: participation by concerned local residents and focus on a marketplace as the centerpiece of the renovation.
This type of revival is desperately needed in the tiny town of San Luis, Colorado, now in the same poor economic state as these cities were. Its vacant Main Street adobe buildings show all the signs of neglect. But through the dust and peeling paint they also exhibit a rich cultural expression typical of early Spanish architecture.
The residents of San Luis have been sustaining at least their cultural traditions, if not their buildings, for over 120 years since the settling of their town. They would be prime candidates for participation in the kind of revival occurring throughout the nation. They have already demonstrated their willingness to give assistance in other small rehabilitation projects for their community.
A marketplace designed around the old Spanish plaza form could certainly work in this area due to its location near major tourist routes. Integration of traditional Hispanic design elements in new construction, preservation of old structures, the local fiesta atmosphere and community spirit could make San Luis a thriving little marketplace once again.


Tourists play a prominent role in sustaining the economies of many of Colorado's small mountains towns. The primary attractions of these hamlets are their picturesque settings and the survival of dominant architectural features which are reminmiscent of the wild West. A stroll down Main Street looks and feels like a journey into 1885. Many such towns have parlayed a romantic image of their rough-and-tumble past into a thriving tourist trade.
Less successful are the efforts to lure tourist dollars to the little-known towns of Southern Colorado. Despite their significance in the history of the Southwest, these towns suffer from an economic depressionn so acute that funds to preserve and promote their virtually unknown historic attractions can rarely be found locally.
A case in point is the attempt by the remaining residents of the tiny town of San Luis to create a tourist trade by causing travelers to pause along the highway to Taos in "the oldest town in Colorado". It is evident that money is not available to preserve historic structures along the highway, which is also San Luis' Main Street. The dusty, unkept, deteriorated Main Street doesn't appear to have much to offer prospective visitors on their way to the well known artist community of Taos, just 60 miles away.
Once a thriving agricultural community of nearly 7,000 inhabitants within a ten mile radius, San Luis has experienced a

severe decline in population down to a mere 800. For a small town whose livlihood has been agriculture since 1852, when the residents constructed Colorado's first irrigation ditch, the effects of a decline in this industry can be devastating. Most of the young residents of San Luis have now left their hometown for the more metropolitan areas where more economic and educational opportunities can be found. Many former residents have retired elsewhere in the country, while few have returned after reitrement.
The success of most of Colorado's southwestern tourist towns is due to their strong historical connection with the well-publicized image of Colorado as the Wild West. Little-known is the fact that Hispanic settlers, who came North from New Mexico, established the first town in Colorado in 1851. The main focus of this agricultural community has always been the church and family not exactly the kind of adventurous life found in a town full of miners, gamblers and cowpokes looking for a good barroom brawl.
Not only is the lifestyle a little slow in San Luis, the architecture does not reflect any familiar "Western" styles. You won't find any of the gingerbread motif typical of 19th century architecture in Colorado. The southwestern Hispanic tradition of building around a plaza with hand-made adobe is still very apparent in the deteriorating buildings here. Isolated from influence and economic opportunity of 20th century metropolitan areas, San Luis has struggled for its very existence. But it is

this isolation that has resulted in the rich cultural expression still seen in many aspects of life in San Luis.
I feel the revitalization of these Hispanic traditions in lifestyle and architecture which contribute to this segment of Colorado's history could bring artists and tourists back to Colorado's oldest town. The climate of the area has all the attributes an artist desires. The quality of natural light and solitude appeal to the aesthetic senses of the artist. Their basic economic needs can be accommodated too, since there are many inexpensive living, working and exhibition spaces becoming available there.
It is well established that tourists are seeking the local flavor of a place, something familiar or unique to that place. When their expectations are realized there, they will most likely return. If this is to occur in San Luis, the problem exists of acquainting prospective tourists with the idea of its significance in Colorado history. Perhaps this can be achieved best by providing them with that unique characteristic that they find so irresistible as they are passing through San Luis that they have to stop and see more.


An effort to lure regional artists into San Luis and establish an artists' community there has already begun. Under the leadership of Father "Pat" Valdez, priest at San Luis' Sangre de Cristo Church, there has been a recent conversion of the convent on the church plaza into a bed and breakfast inn and art gallery. A former resident has leased an existing Main Street building to San Luis for one dollar, also to be converted into an art gallery. One of the local artists has already completed a colorful mural, "Sierras y Colores", depicting the people and the land around San Luis, on the north side of this building visible to Taos-bound travelers entering town. The most extensive project Father Pat and the citizens of San Luis have undertaken yet is the construction of the pedestrian path leading to the site of the shrine, "Mesa de la Piedad y de la Misericordia". The shrine, scheduled for completion in June, 1989, is now being crafted by a local sculptor. This spirit along with the climate, sunlight and solitude of the San Luis Valley could be appealing to artists and artisans around the community and, possibly, from other parts of the country.
If renovation is to continue along main street, many of the vacant former apartment buildings could be revived as inexpensive living and studio space for artists who, whether in New York or San Luis, are always looking for a living and working situation that suits their budget and lifestyle.
It seems that San Luis could easily capture that part of the

artist/tourist population already frequenting places like Taos just by being on a major route to these places. But there has to be something unique about what these travelers see as they come into town to entice them to stop, explore and discover the distinct Hispanic culture in religion, art, architecture that has been in existence for over a hundred years in San Luis.
The architectural revival of Main Street could be this unique element to give San Luis an identity, as it has in other popular cities. (See Appendix A, p. 12) This wouldn't mean merely duplicating Spanish architecture of the past, but creating new, better buildings using the familiar plaza form and materials indigenous to the area.
In order to create this image for San Luis, certain issues must be addressed. For example, what methods could be used to affect the revival of identity and economy in small towns. Another issue to be explored is how to handle an increase in population, both tourist and residential.
There are numerous cases published illustrating the use of markets to revitalize depressed urban areas. They show how, again and again, the market as a public gathering place attracts both people and activity, the two essentials for the success of San Luis' economic development. (See Appendix A, pp. 19-22).
Many attempts were made by architects to bring the plaza concept over from Europe early in the 20th century, but were never successful. The result was usually a cold, bare concrete space incapable of drawing the public.

The following quote by Venturi in 1965 describes suburban trends in America where, as he says, we had "too much space":
"The open piazza is seldom appropriate for an American city today...The Piazza, in fact, is 'un-American'. Americans feel uncomfortable sitting in a square: they should be working at the office or home with the family watching television, or perhaps at the bowling alley."1
This description somewhat fits San Luis in 1988, where
social activities mainly occur at church or while cruising Main
Soon a change in attitudes about urban life occurred, brought about by new attitudes about preservation. Urban public spaces traditionally provided by government funding have returned. The difference is in the financial backing, which has shifted to private funding. So, we now have privately funded "public" places.2
Emergence of suburban malls in the 60's began to incorporate some ideas of the community feeling in the old town square with shops, cafes, places to linger, but all under one roof and dependent upon automobile rather than pedestrian transportation. These later moved into downtown areas but did not have an urban quality because the malls were too centered around the inside, self-contained, and more of a destination rather than connection of urban fabric.
The "arcade" revived from the 19th century, as in Galleria
Barnes Sanders, "Toward a Return of the Public Place: an
American Survey," Architectural Record. April 1985, p. 87.
2Ibid, p. 88.

Vittorio Emanuelle in Milan, would be an appropriate design concept to integrate into a European-type marketplace in San Luis. What made this space more effective and more urban was its connection to the city and its dual function as a plaza as well as pedestrian circulation. The one element contributing to the livliness of a public place is the traffic passing through, which won't occur in the "destination'' shopping areas (suburban malls) to which shoppers drive, park, shop and leave.
The newest development in urban public gathering places is the open air market, or "festival market". These lively public gathering places are slowly replacing former inner city parks and old downtown markets that have become run-down, dark and scary places. Not only do these markets provide public urban space, but a boost in the local economy and, in some cases, a revival of the identities of depressed downtown areas.
There has also been a shift nationwide toward preservation of entire neighborhoods, main streets or cities.3 This way, an entire urban fabric can be preserved in keeping with the original identity of the area, rather than one building or monument at a time, as seen in most previous efforts.
Preservation in these areas can serve purposes other than the above social purpose of revitalization of an existing community and its image. The "recycling" of a physically sound building is a distinct economic function of historic
3Nathan Weinberg, Preservation in American Towns and Cities. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1979), p. 37.

preservation. Another function of preservation is in the symbolism of existing buildings. Cultures of the past and present can be linked through architecture to allow us to get to know the past and compare it to present changes. Architecture can be the means of expressing history to create more of a public awareness.4
Should Stand for Something that no. 2, 1985, p. 81.
4Joseph S. Wood, "Nothing Never Existed," Places, vol. 2,


In keeping with the plaza concept as a public gathering place and the need for revitalization of the local economy, a marketplace could be the key to the rebirth of San Luis. The market could fulfill the need for marketing and exhibition space for local artists. A farmers' market could be reminiscent of more prosperous days when San Luis was a busy agricultural center of the San Luis Valley, as well as the catalyst for downtown revival. (See Appendix A, pp. 24-27). References to agriculture, such as the quality of the soil, the Vega (common grazing land), and the irrigation system are all part of local history. The marketplace and town plaza would be the perfect place for celebration of traditional fiestas and ethnic cooking, both part of that local flavor the tourists are drawn to.
Once a festive market atmosphere is created in San Luis and the tourists are stopping and buying, they may want to stay and explore more galleries and restaurants. There is no lodging in San Luis presently except the bed and breakfast inn, which has limited accommodations. To fill the need for these accommocations, I would propose a hotel on the plaza connected to the market that could be integrated into the festival atmosphere and a definite draw for travellers.
The factor contributing most to the success of a major town image revival in San Luis could be the positive attitude and willingness of the town residents to contribute their time and resources to the completion of this project because they, too,

realize they may lose their image in striving to keep up with progress. They have already demonstrated their ability to do this by their participation in the construction of the path to the new shrine up on the mesa and renovation of the church. The success of many projects across the country due primarily to community action has been widely publicized. (See Appendix A, pp. 13-18).
Preservation of ideas, as well as the actual structures, from past cultures can enhance a community, too. In San Luis, for instance, the early Spanish settlers created the town around the traditional Hispanic plaza. This urban form reflects the culture of the area, which is actually a blend of European and Latin American along with Native American and Anglo origins. This notion of the square could be used to revive San Luis' downtown into a lively public place and have a truly historic significance since the purpose of the original enclosed plaza was for socializing (as well as the very early function of protection). The early Southwestern plaza form typically consisted of flat-roofed adobes, 15-30 inches thick, with only inward-facing windows, joined together to form the square, usually with two entrances. Other traditional elements that could be integrated into the new design are the parapet wall, or pretil, extending up to five feet above the roofline; fir or pine beams, or vigas, extending outside the building; aspen latias, laid over the vigas; high zaguan doors to allow wagons as well as people to enter buildings; and cantina fireplaces with padercito.




The architectural and cultural revival in the same Hispanic tradition has proven to be a successful draw for tourists in Santa Fe. The elements that contributed to the success of Santa Fe's tourism indistry were not contrived to create an untrue image, but were representative of a continuing life style there. Similar characteristics can be found in the Spanish architecture, the existence of a local community of artisans and the tradition of the fiesta, all inherent in San Luis' culture. The building that is considered the initiator of the current Santa Fe style is the Art Museum built in 1917 to fill the need for exhibition space. Although it was not one of the original adobe structures and has been criticized for being rather unsuccessful architecturally, the imitation adobe made a lasting impression there.5 6
5Nathan Weinberg, Preservation in American Towns and Cities.
(Boulder: Westview Press, 1979), p. 52.

The small western town of Carbondale, Colorado faced a dilemma two years ago when its economic base in the shale oil and coal industry fell through. To counteract this problem, an economic development plan to focus on local art and culture as industry was initiated. To meet this goal, three phases of development were proposed and are now being implemented: establishing artists' cooperative; developing a directory of local artists for statewide distribution; and getting a marketing representative for local artists. In San Luis too, there is all the needed local support to make a plan like this work.

The 49 neighborhoods settled in Cincinnati 200 years ago have never given up their individual identities. Most residents don't identify with Cincinnati, but with their own unique neighborhood. The strong community ties that exist here, along with an abundance of quality 19th century architecture, provide the incentives for preservation in these areas. Rehabilitation of older properties has also stimulated new construction in some neighborhoods, which is not always the desired result, but does contribute to sustaining these communities.
When urban renewal and highway construction ruined one Cincinnati neighborhood in the 1950's, other neighbhorhoods became aware of the need for a group effort to prevent this kind of intervention. Now almost all Cincinnati neighborhoods have established residents' associations to cope with constant problems occurring in "controlling change"6 within these neighborhoods.
One of the major problems facing these neighborhood groups is the displacement of low-income families in some communities due to the lack of local funds to maintain housing for them. In one neighborhood, Columbia-Tusculum, one family confronted the problem of a deteriorating neighborhood by restoring their own house and helping to achieve historic designation for the area.
6Morse, Susan, "Neighborhood Spirit Shapes a City", Historic Preservation. July/August, 1988, pp. 24-31.

This was all that was needed to instigate further restoration by other resident-owners and, as a result, no families were displaced by costly renovations under the direction of outside developers.
In the East Walnut Hills district, one couple saved an entire street by buying up unwanted buildings that were destined for the wrecking ball. The neighborhood had been vacated by most families after the 1967 riots. They meticulously restored the properties until families returned to the restored neighborhood.
The solution to the deterioration problem of the much maligned North Avondale neighborhood was not so simple. A sudden shift in population had occurred in the 1950's with highway construction coming through, which resulted in a racially segregated community and abandonment and breaking up of the 19th century mansions. The neighborhood association led by an activist couple, worked to turn North Avondale around by fighting for new programs in the schools, enforcing zoning, protecting existing large lots, drawing up a master plan and discouraging segregated institutions and "unsafe and unhealthy" subsidized housing projects these areas. Rehabilitation of older properties has also stimulated new construction in some neighborhoods, which is not always the desired result, but does contribute to sustaining these communities.

Here, the residents used the motto, "Building the future from our past",7 a case where community involvement was the key to success. The neighborhood consists of the remaining houses which are the large, well-built ones; vacant spots; modern apartment buildings built during urban renewal; old apartment buildings; and an interstate highway which bisects the neighborhood, isolating one part of it, very similar to the existing situation in San Luis.
The neighborhood groups formed in Historic Hill to participate in the planning process divided up into four areas of study: Land use; Architecture and design; Community services;
and Traffic and circulation.
The Land Use Committee dealt with the physical amenities, parks and recreation, imagery, climate. These issues were inventoried to establish the area's identity and reasons why some areas within it were not working. To facilitate this study, the committee chose a residential block to study as well as an existing commercial block.
Architecture and Design worked on reviewing history of St. Paul, the study of architectural styles to establish a connection with the style of Historic Hill district.
Community Services looked at the social needs for facilities in the neighborhood. The idea was to encourage the positive ones
7Nathan Weinberg, Preservation in American Towns and Cities. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1979), p. 136.

(parks, recreation, etc.) and discourage the negative ones such as halfway houses which tend to lead to deterioration of an area.
The Traffic and Circulation group considered designating heavily travelled crosstown traffic routes as parkways to eliminate undesirable traffic; upgrading existing pedestrian routes; creating bike routes; and reviving the old trolley system (which was determined to be too costly for such a small scope).

A community development effort in a Decatur, Illinois, low income neighborhood consisting mostly of public housing was driven by local residents. The main issue was to create a park that would reflect the needs and preferences of residents: Image that is traditional, gives a sense of ownership; safety for parking, walking and handicap access; and adequate facilities.
The Executive Director of local Housing Authority led the project and identified five steps in the process of development that could also be utilized by San Luis residents: gathering and assessing information; developing design criteria; creating conceptual design; testing design against criteria; and annotating conceptual plan with participants.

Designed by Benjamin Thompson Associates, this waterfront market covers 11 blocks of the remains of New York City's old seaport. It is a sensitive integration of restored 18th and 19th century buildings and new contemporary construction carefully scaled to fit with the old.
All spaces were filled with traditional market elements and activity. A criticism of this space is that no balance exists between public & commercial spaces. When this occurs, commercial activity overwhelmes all other activity and with shopping everywhere it cannot be avoided, even in pedestrian streets where the open stalls are located. There are not enough "public" spaces, where just gathering and socializing can happen.8
8James Sanders, "Toward a Return of the Public Place: an
American Survey," Architectural Record. April 1985.

Another BTA project, the Inner Harbor is entirely new construction developed to make use of a waterfront site. Important design concerns were to give the marketplace visibility and pedestrian access from the street.
A good balance exists here between public and commercial space. The shops and cafes are concentrataed on one side of the esplanade while the other side looks out onto harbor, historic ships and water activity.

Again, BTA was brought in to develop a riverside site to bring the shoppers back from suburban malls to the downtown core of Jacksonville. The downtown work force was rapidly expanding, so the Downtown Development Authority felt that creating a new retail center in the area could be profitable. The horseshoe shape of the marketplace formed a link to downtown on all sides and provided an exciting atmosphere inside and along the river, a kind of getaway from the harshness of the city. Architecture characteristic of the area's southern verandas was successful in giving the market a local identity.

In contrast to the huge structures of the central business district, this old section of town provides cultural memory, antique texturing, human scale and environmental diversity in urban form.
The philosophy employed in developing Omaha's Old Market is that there should be no boundaries between city and market-every element of the urban fabric should be linked together.
Many transformation processes produce 9,,pseudo places"-imitations of places they never were. Old Market represents preservation, not a contrived place.
Warehouse districts restored can create a new "symbolic landscape" in depressed urban areas, meaning that which is individual, coherent, stable or nostalgic in character.
Examples of "preservation polychromy"10 referred to here as controlling the colors or signage used according to preconceived notions of what they were, are Larimer Square (more subtle) and Iowa Falls main street (too conspicuous).
Rather than imitating historic structures, construction of new innovative structures can enhance and complement restoration and reuse projects. Remnants of old buildings can be used, but no imitations in new graphics or signage were encouraged. Where
9Wood, Joseph S., "Nothing Should Stand for Something that Never Existed", Places, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1985, pp. 81-87.

some parts of old graphics remain, they were used at Old Market, otherwise new styles of graphics were used.
The streets were kept the same as they were, with cars and traffic being an important source of activity and access. A totally clean environment was not considered realistic or appropriate to the marketplace.
The success of Old Market is partly due to the authenticity of reuse. The area is still made up of the same types of businesses, light manufacturing and produce markets, which existed in the late 1800's.

Open one evening a week, the market draws five to seven thousand people on that day. It is composed of a farmers' market (about one third of the total space) and other businesses along the four-block stretch of the street which transforms into a pedestrian mall for market day. Businesses either open all doors or bring carts out to the street, attracting people of all ages and sectors of the population including locals and out-of-towners, businessmen and tourists. A sense of security exists, even after dark because of the jovial activity the marketplace evokes.11
Most markets follow the same pattern as San Luis Obispo in that there was a purpose in developing them, such as a method of creating more pedestrian traffic downtown. Some markets, after gaining a sense of loyalty among customers, automatically establish their own identity through their customers as well as any architectural features employed for this purpose.
nVance Merrill-Corum, "Certified Farmers' Markets: Helping Revive Downtown", Western City. October 1987, p. 22.

One of the big advantages of the farmers' market is an economic one, both to the farmer and the buyer. In eliminating overhead costs incurred by the middle man, the farmer can ask less for produce than supermarket prices, benefiting the buyer, while receiving a higher price for produce sold directly to the customer. Some farmers show double the profit from farmers' market sales over wholesale profits.12
In addition to economic rewards, this market provides local residents with a social gathering place and sense of community. Even the local gangs who have decorated the rest of the neighborhood with graffiti, have left the market buildings alone. The market has been so successful in bringing business to the downtown area that the manager is almost afraid to do too much more advertising.
Another positive aspect of the market is the opportunity to talk to the grower of produce you are buying about such things as pesticide use and preparation, again part of the congeniality that exists at the market.
12Clara Germani, "The Rise of the Farmers' Market", Christian Science Monitor. June 1 1982, p. 18.

The Shelby Market is a year-round market housed in a permanent building to allow operation even during bad weather, which is distinguished from the open-air or seasonal market usually operating temporarily on a public site such as a park, plaza, parking lot, etc. A former mayor of Shelby recognized the farmers' market as the element that could bring more customers into the downtown area. The local newspaper's editor offers a good description of the market as traditionally being "a colorful social center where people from town and country come together in a festive atmosphere to trade gossip and enjoy each other's company as well as exchange products."13
The city used a marketing program that worked to get the market on its feet. The program worked as follows: county agriculture mailings, as well as personal contacts, were used to inform potential vendors of the new sales outlet; it was agreed that the existing farmers' market at another location would consolidate; news releases and presentations to local organizations to spread the word; offering free rental space during the market's first two weeks in operation; and an extensive advertising campaign before opening.
The City of Shelby owns and operates the market, now a popular gathering place in their downtown. The success of the facility is illustrated by the presence of eight permanent
13Hal Mason, "Shelby Farmers Market," Main Street News. November/December 1985.

vendors (including a restaurant and fresh meat market),10 to 15 seasonal vendors, 20 to 30 new jobs resulting from the project and five to six hundred visitors a day during its peak season.

This is not really a case of revival, but upgrading of a continuous operation. The current trend in Mexican markets is to make the facility a cleaner, bigger space. The New Market "Libertad" was constructed in 1959 to replace the filthy, inadqaute old market. The design employed the popular concept in Mexican architecture of "structural express spacial beauty"14, which created an ordered modular system which, at the same time evoked a spontaneous environment similar to that which existed in the old street markets. Within the structure are public and social services, children's garden, patios, bridges all giving it a real civic sense.
14Makoto Suzuki, "Modern Mexican Architecture", Process: Architecture. No. 39, July 1983.

Another way of organizing market space is demonstrated in the Municipal Market, a huge market in an agricultural area. The space is divided into three main areas: general retail, and produce and livestock these two zones are divided by open area to keep the different smells apart. The third zone consists of administrative offices, clinic, toilets, parking.

La Plaza de San Luis de la Culebra will consist of what will be San Luis' only hotel for tourist lodging; an open air market, with produce, food, and arts and crafts vendors; an arcade opening out onto the marketplace on one side and to rear entrances to shops and restaurants along Main Street; traditional Hispanic plaza linking the hotel, market and Main Street activities by pedestrian paths; and public parking accessible to the network of tourist stops.

HOTEL: Accommodations for 100 people on two floors consisting of a combination of single and double rooms and limited number of suites, all of which must face courtyard or plaza, typical of the Mexican hotel plan, but be buffered from public traffic areas. Located on west side of site set back from highway and accessible to parking and circulation paths to Market, Main Street, and existing restaurants. Although this hotel will accommodate mostly tourists, it should contain quiet areas for the occasional travelling business person as well as those centered around the lively plaza.

GUEST ROOMS..........21700 S.F.
38 Double @ 350 S.F., 20 Single @ 300 S.F 4 Suites § 600 S.F.
LOBBY..................1200 S.F.
RESTROOMS...............600 S.F.
SEMINAR/BANQUET........1200 S.F.
2 § 600 S.F.
BAR....................1200 S.F.
COFFEE SHOP............1600 S.F.
KITCHEN................600 S.F.
ADMINISTRATION..........600 S.F.
2 Offices § 250 S.F.
Storage @ 100 S.F.
EMPLOYEE LOUNGE.........500 S.F.
LAUNDRY/STORAGE.........500 S.F.
RECEIVING/MAINT.........800 S.F.
MECHANICAL..............700 S.F.
CIRCULATION............1800 S.F.
BUILDING TOTAL........33000 S.F.
PARKING...............18000 S.F.
., Private

ApJ^ceMcy W£.t>cnoM^rtvpt>-
MA/M Wtrvex^


The market should serve as the link between the hotel
complex, Main Street, parking and the pedestrian circulation system. Typically, markets are divided into zones determined by type of activity or product being sold. There would be an open air section divided into fresh produce vending and artisan vending, with access to the bordering street or alley for loading and unloading. Another zone within the market would consist of enclosed retail and restaurant space, mostly housed in existing rehabilitated buildings on Main Street, scaled to encourage pedestrian interaction. A third, public space would include gardens, outdoor cafe seating and
OPEN AIR STALLS.......8000 S.F.
(Located in existing Main Street buildings)



CIRCULATION: Landscaped public space linking hotel, market, Main Street, church plaza, shrine and parking for pedestrian traffic. Must be visible from highway and parking and consist of public gathering and sitting places and walkways. Must be wide enough to allow circulation as well as lingering. Composed of typical urban street elements including lighting, seating and signage of the same type used throughout the circulation system. The main plaza should contain a fountain in the center reminiscent of the central well and socializing area typical of the early Spanish plaza. The existing row of trees along the highway and bordering the east side of the plaza would remain as a buffer from traffic noise and dust.
The main purpose of this pedestrian circulation system is to bring people to all areas of town safely, including those parts of town isolated by the highways. This could mean installation of stop signs, reduced speed limits or, possibly, pedestrial ways over or under the highways.

The site for proposed hotel and plaza is located along the west side and highly visible from Highway 159, a well-travelled tourist route. The site is shaded on the north side by stands of mature oak and elm trees, most of which would remain on the site to become integrated into the plan. The market would stretch from the hotel north along the west side of main street buildings, incorporating these buildings as permanent retail and restaurant space as some of them are now being used.
Although the highway is an asset in bringing people to the site by automobile, it leads to problems in the pedestrian circulation system. Since one purpose of this development is to link other less visible tourist sights in town, people must be able to cross the highway frequently and safely. There are currently no traffic controls in San Luis, so the solution to this problem will be a major design issue.
The climate in San Luis varies from warm summers to cold winters, but the locals claim the sun shines 350 days a year. Due to limited precipitation, a farmers' market could operate possibly nine months out of the year, with many local crops maturing late in the growing season.


No local building codes and ordinances are currently in existence in San Luis.
UBC and Denver Building Codes would be applied in areas of parking requirements, handicap access, occupancy, restroom requirements, required exits and building construction types.

Colorado was made a territory in 1861, Costilla was one of the original counties and San Luis was its county seat. Of course, an organization had to be set up for the governing county. According to the territorial laws a board of three county commissioners was to administer the affairs of the newly-created unit.
It is interesting to go to Book One of their proceedings and learn some
of the actions taken. Previous to this time there had been few regulations as they
were far from legal authority. Below are a few of the rules they made:
1. The town shall be as clean as possible and the scattering of trash will be prohibited.
2. Drunkeness will be prohibited in the presence of women and children. Fights and quarrels shall also be prohibited.
3. It is prohibited to block the roads leading into town.
4. No non-resident shall be allowed to settle in the Town of San Luis before having appeared before the Judge and having been approved by said official.
5. Any person wishing to buy a lot in the town of San Luis shall appear before the Judge and after having qualified as a good uitizen shall pay the Judge the price of the lot; said price of the lot shall be turned over to the church for its benefit and use.



"A Priest, A Plan". Denver Post. 22 November 1987, pp. 11-14.
Adams, Robert. The Architecture and Art of Early Hispanic Colorado. Colorado Associated University Press, 1974.
"An Old Town Takes a New Direction". Muse. April/May 1988, p. 1, 9, 18.
Beer, David W. "Special Hotels for Special Places". Architectural Record. June 1984.
Bunting Bainbridge. Taos Adobes. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1964.
Butterfield, Dorothy. "Participating Renews the Inner City". Landscape Architecture. November/December 1984, pp. 68-71.
Feduchi, Luis. Spanish Folk Architecture. Barcelona: Editorial Blume, 1974.
Germani, Clara. "The Rise of the Farmers' Market". The Christian Science Monitor. 1 June 1982, p. 18.
Griffin, Dixie Lynn. "The Art of Economic Development". Muse. April/May 1988, p. 1, 8.
Jensen, Emmy. "Inn at Val Moritz". Thesis proposal, University of Colorado, 1982.
Kirby, Rosina Greene. Mexican Landscape Architecture. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1972.
Mason, Hal. "Shelby Farmers' Market". Main Street News. November/ December 1985, pp. 1-3.
Merrill-Corum, Vance. "Certified Farmers' Markets: Helping Revive Downtown. Western City. October 1987, pp. 22-23, 25.
"Newest Mural 'Sierras y Colores' Brightens San Luis". Costilla County Free Press. 7 October 1988, p. 1.
"Reminiscences of Early San Luis". The Colorado Magazine. January 1947, pp. 24-25.
"San Luis, The Vision Unfolds". The Chronicle of Catholic Life.
July 1988, pp. 1-2.

"San Luis, Colorado's Hard-Luck Town". Rocky Mountain News.
31 August 1986, p. 14, 37.
Sanders, James. "Toward a Return of the Public Place: an American Survey". Architectural Record. April 1985, pp. 87-95.
Shipway, Verna Cook and Warren. The Mexican House. New York: Architectural Book Publishing Co., Inc., 1964.
Schmertz, Mildred F. "Designing the Urban Marketplace". Architectural Record. June 1988, pp. 140-151.
"Solarman". Denver Post. 17 July 1981, p. 18.
Suzuki, Makoto. "Modern Mexican Architecture". Process: Architecture. No. 39, July 1983.
Teeuwen, Randall. La Cultura Constante de San Luis. Denver:
Sierra Printing, Inc., 1985.
Weinberg, Nathan. Preservation in American Towns and Cities. Boulder: Westview Press, 1979.
Wood, Joseph S. "Nothing Should Stand for Something that Never Existed". Places. vol. 2, no. 2, 1985, pp. 81-87.