Debra Prinzing

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What’s a Ramada?

November 24th, 2008

If you’re following my ongoing Glossary of Garden Architecture, check out this just-added “definition” of a Ramada. [photo source: Arid Lands Newsletter, 1989]

Part arbor-trellis, part pavilion, the open-air structure protects and shelters its occupants from the high-noon sun and also invites breezes to cool and comfort.

According to, the word ramada appears in at least two citations of American literature – in 1909 (Vanished Arizona, by Martha Summerhayes) and 1992 (All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy).

1992: “They sat in the shade of the pole and brush ramada in front of the place and sipped their drinks and looked out at the desolate stillness of the little crossroads at noon. ” Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

1909: (footnote) “A sort of rude awning made of brush and supported by cottonwood poles.” Martha Summerhayes, Vanished Arizona

Read further to discover why it’s important to learn and understand regional influences and cultural origins of architectural terms like ramada.

One Response to “What’s a Ramada?”

  1. Judy Lowe/Diggin' It Says:

    This was fascinating. Thanks for teaching me something new. I had no idea about the architectural meaning of the word ramada. I tend to think of a hotel chain. 🙂

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