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It was these simple huts that would ultimately give way to the stone and adobe buildings which exist to this day.The soil used may have been clay, loam, or sandy or gravelly earth.V period; nevertheless, they "...stand as concrete reminders of Spanish occupation and admirable examples of buildings conceived in the style and manner appropriate to the country in which they were built." Some fanciful accounts regarding the construction of the missions claimed that underground tunnels were incorporated into garden the design, to be used as a means of emergency egress in the event of attack; however, no historical evidence (written or physical) has ever been uncovered to support these wild assertions.The majority of mission sanctuaries were oriented on a roughly east–west axis to take the best advantage of the sun's position for interior illumination; the exact alignment depended on the geographic features of the particular site.The priests' quarters, refectory, convento, workshops, kitchens, soldiers' and servants' living quarters, storerooms, and other ancillary chambers were usually grouped around a walled, open court or patio (often in the form of a quadrangle) inside which religious celebrations and other festive events often took place.Five basic materials were used in constructing the permanent mission structures: adobe, timber, stone, brick, and tile.The padres blessed the site, and with the aid of their military escort fashioned temporary shelters out of tree limbs or driven stakes, roofed with thatch or reeds.Since importing the quantity of materials necessary for a large mission complex was impossible, the padres had to gather the materials they needed from the land around them.

Occasionally pieces of bricks or shells were placed in the mix to improve the cohesiveness.And while no two mission complexes are identical, they all employed the same basic building style.Adobes (mud bricks) were made from a combination of earth and water, with chaff, straw, or manure added to bind the mixture together.The first priority when beginning a settlement was the location and construction of the church (iglesia).Although the missions were considered temporary ventures by the Spanish hierarchy, the development of an individual settlement was not simply a matter of "priestly whim." The founding of a mission followed longstanding rules and procedures; the paperwork involved required months, sometimes years of correspondence, and demanded the attention of virtually every level of the bureaucracy.