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A Style Of Many Names

April 2023
1min read

Although it can be easily recognized by its bell towers, tiled roofs, arches, window surrounds, and stone or brick walls that are either left exposed or coated in stucco or plaster, it is hard to give this style a name that everyone will agree upon. Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial Revival, Venetian, and Moorish are some of the descriptive titles for what the architect James Marston Fitch has referred to as “the then-fashionable historicizing modes.” Mizner’s imagination could easily leap the barriers of centuries and of logic to create his historical fantasies. One building site made him envision a “nunnery, with a chapel built into the lake . . . a mixture built by a nun from Venice, added onto by one from Gerona, with a bit of new Spain of the tropics.” As the pictures at the right show, Mizner’s influence was far-reaching, even though the translation from his brand of fantasy to the realities of street-corner sites and mercantile demands can sometimes miss the mark.

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