Front Exterior: The front of the church is adorned with three crosses, one above the entry and one on each bell tower. A large buttress below each bell tower support the front of the structure. The shadow of a cross in the foreground is from the entrance archway to the church grounds. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Light, Shadow and Form: The sculpted shapes of the church create interesting light and shadow forms all times of the day. A walk around the building reveals many unique design features. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Window and Vigas: The window and vigas create interesting design features and shadow patterns on the side of the church. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
By GARY WARREN
Formerly of Los Alamos
The San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos is more than 200 years old and still the center of the village and used as a place of worship today.
The large Spanish Colonial structure was built between the 1770s and 1815.
The beautifully sculpted design features large buttresses in the front and rear adding to its unique exterior. The church has attracted artists for decades and is one of the most painted and photographed churches in the state.
The building was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country and he shares his photographs, which appear in the ‘Posts from the Road’ series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.
Adobe Walls: The church walls are constructed of adobe, which must be maintained on a regular basis to protect it from the elements. Each June, parishioners and community volunteers re-mud the entire exterior of the building in a project called The Enjarre or mudding of the church. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Back View: The view of the back of the church is most famous and recognizable but the entire back view was obstructed by vehicles during my visit. This back detail photo depicts a view of one of the four buttresses that lend support for the back of the building. Again, light and shadow play with the unique sculpted shapes of the church. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com