Architect’s Perspective: The ‘Pink’ Building – The Scottish Rite Temple

" Completed a few months after statehood in 1912, it was a symbol of an established group—the Masons..."

Photo: PDTillman

The word “iconic ” applies to a number of buildings in Santa Fe for the way they help define our unique architectural style and heritage. One building in Santa Fe, however, evokes the word in a completely different way: the Scottish Rite Temple on the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Washington Avenue.

Known as the “pink” building, its design by Hunt and Burns from Los Angeles was labeled “Moorish Revival” at the time. The intent was to create a riff based on the Alhambra in southern Spain; a sort of Spain = Hispanic New Mexico association. Study the building itself and you can also see a mélange of other ideas: a bit of cathedral, a dash of castle, a whiff of California, all clad in dusty pink (very pink) stucco and topped with a red tile roof.

What is the takeaway from this building? Completed a few months after statehood in 1912, it was a symbol of an established group—the Masons—seeking a unique statement of identity. Sometimes that is difficult to achieve in style-conscious Santa Fe, especially in the historic districts of the city – for better and for worse. But contemplating this building helps you ask yourself, should you build here in Santa Fe, which category you fall under: visionary or follower, challenger or disciple? Like most, perhaps you are a combination of both, bringing richness to the fabric of our place.

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