Portals to New Mexico
Typical Santa Fe style portals, door and gates, along Canyon Road, Santa Fe’s street of art galleries. Photo credit: Chambers Architects
Doors are fascinating to all of us. Some of the most significant events in our lives occur when we walk through or close a door. They invite us to wonder what lies behind them and how others live. They are functionally and symbolically important. It’s one of the few parts of a structure with which we interact on a personal basis. In addition to welcoming guests and keeping out intruders, the door creates the first impression of a building, providing a sense of arrival, welcome, security and peace.
There are barn doors, sliding doors, automatic doors, security doors, French doors, jailhouse doors, fire doors, hatches and gates. But the symbol and mystery of a door resides in its ability to keep our hearts in expectation and uncertainty. Portals like doors, gates and windows entice us to move beyond our daily lives and into the realities and experiences of others.
It’s difficult to walk around Santa Fe without noticing the vast array of doors and gates. They play a significant role in this southwest city’s home design, providing the “welcome mat“ to visitors. Because of the type of construction in adobe buildings, there are many walls and fences and very little fenestration in the street façade.
The Spaniards integrated many of the Pueblo style elements into their missions and colonial haciendas. Homes in New Mexico were added onto year after year. Doorways are typically low and floors rise and fall with the natural contours of the earth. Hacienda-style homes were built without windows facing outward, with many small rooms and doors opening out to a main interior courtyard.
Possibly the “Oldest Church Door in the West,” from the Nuestra Senora de Guadelupe Mission in El Paso, excavated in the 1940s and now displayed in Jim Gordon’s private history museum
One of many antique Mexican doors at Santa Fe’s Antique Warehouse, owned by Betty Kaye Gilmore and Michele Graveline (Chambers)