My adventure to build a home in a far away land began after my first trip to Panama where I had sailed the San Blas Islands. Like the natives that occupy the area, I discovered that I also needed to live a more balanced and nourishing existence.
Previously, it seemed that I was always in a race to get somewhere, but where? My life to this point had moved at an alarming speed and the discomfort of knowing that I was not in a soulful place kept me searching for the space and place that would realign myself to the things I treasured most. As it turned out, I discovered this particular adventure is also about self-discovery, being true to oneself and following one’s bliss. Maybe it can inspire you to do the same if you have not done so already.
I have been fortunate to have travelled all over the world and sailed to some amazing places. There are many places that I love and could easily settle but I felt drawn to the Latin American culture and climate. As a result, I came to discover my little place on the Pacific side of Panama known as Azueros, or the “tuna coast”.
The other amazing thing that happened was the opportunity to build a Spanish Colonial Revival (SCR) house, which as it turns out is fitting, given the architecture’s genesis. It all happened as a result of the opening of the Panama Canal.
Previously, I had designed a Tuscan inspired home and the SCR design also carries some of those Mediterranean elements. The SCR style made its biggest impact in California and it all began as a result of the Panama-San Diego Exposition that commemorated the opening of the Panama Canal in 1915. A number of Architect’s borrowed different elements and styles from Spanish, Moorish and Mexican designs to re-invent a building structure that incorporated all of those elements into one beautiful and romantic architeturally inspired package. The SCR design was built predominantly between 1915 and 1931 although many homes have been built since.
From Wikipedia: Spanish Colonial Revival architecture is characterized by a combination of detail from several eras of Spanish Baroque, Spanish Colonial, Moorish Revival and Mexican Churrigueresque architecture, the style is marked by the prodigious use of smooth plaster (stucco) wall and chimney finishes, low-pitched clay tile, shed, or flat roofs, and terracotta or cast concrete ornaments. Other characteristics typically include small porches or balconies, Roman or semi-circular arcades and fenestration, wood casement or tall, double–hung windows, canvas awnings, and decorative iron trim.
Some of the best examples of SCR homes reside in Santa Barbara, San Diego, Montecito, Los Angeles and parts of Florida. Many of the Hollywood homes of early 20th Century were built for movie stars of the era and many of those homes still exist today.
I’ve made a decision to buy land in Panama and my goal now is to build a house that honors the SCR architecture by trying to stay true to the style, materials and elements of this period. Bringing back to Panama what it had unknowingly started at the beginning of the 20th Century; the opening of the Panama Canal and the resultant wave of SCR construction that followed in N. America for 20 years and beyond.