Off the main Plaza, the setbacks start to differentiate, and building facades may be placed up to 5' off the property line or sidewalk. Many of the shopping district's structures borrow from the old tradition of haciendas and have an open courtyard - a plazuela - around which the rest of the building's shallow structures ring and into which they open. This indicates a special form of environmental awareness - one that pre-dates everything you see in Taos these days save the Martinez Hacienda and a few other structures. These open courtyards planted with trees and flowers provide a place of beauty, a place to gather, a place of shade, better oxygen, and a place for the well to reside that is central to all users. They also act as a form of air conditioning, as the humid cool shaded center allows cooler air to move through the portals and thusly, the buildings which open onto them. You can see these at Brazos and Ruffin on Bent Street across from the John Dunn Shops, at Taos Blue on Bent Street, at the Wenglert Patio and Kit Carson Home on Kit Carson, at Starr Interiors just south of the Taos Inn, at the cute compound of casitas in Casa Baca Plaza at the corner of Paseo and Queznel, at LaLana Wools/Steven Kilborn as well as Plaza Flores on Paseo Norte just north of Grahams Grille, and some smaller plazuelas at la Loma Plaza and along Ledoux.
|The Wenglert Patio on Kit Carson|
|Inside the Adobe Bar at the Taos Inn, this "lighthouse" structure covers the old well, now converted to a fountain.|
Lessons learned: To design a new infill for any of these areas of town, it is recommended that new construction be placed somewhere between the furthest building setback and the closest of the 2 neighboring buildings adjacent to either side and the 3 closest buildings across the street.