Colonized Space: The Amerrican Era

      Unlike the former Spanish ruler, the next ruler, also from the west tried to prepare the Philippines for self-governance. Their effort of establishing the first democratic state in the Far East made them different from their Spanish counterpart. The Spaniards effort of establishing a community that is like of the Europeans was a symbol of their intention to stay forever if possible.


      The Americans also wanted to stay forever (if possible), but they did it differently. They did it with their “proclaimed love for liberty and democracy.” Opportunities for the talented and skill full Filipino came in bloom because of the American’s general plan for their only colony in the world the “Philippines.” The natives formerly treated by their Spanish ruler as a low class of human species were sent to the finest school of architecture in the west to learn what was prohibited for them before the American came.


      They want this country from the Far East to become their symbol of Imperial presence, and Technological Modernity. They sent qualified natives and mestizos abroad to study and learn from the masters themselves. They were the first generation of Filipino architects. They brought with them their knowledge and use it to assist the overseeing American colonizer in converting this country into a new world it supposed to have been, as planned by the Spanish.


      Roads networks were established, government building of immense size and proportion were built according to the master plan of Daniel H. Burnham, who was appointed as a replacement to an equally known architect during their time. Burnham known as the proponent of City Beautiful and also was the designer of the Columbian Exposition in the late 19th century. In the Philippines, under his master plan schools of various types were presented as models, a general hospital was built, commercial office buildings, department stores, hotels, movie houses, theaters, clubhouses, sport facilities, and some high rise buildings. Majority of the architectural wonders for a colonized country was for the comfort of the new Imperial Americans.


     It was also during those times that the natives become “truly” aware of sanitation with their surroundings. Sanitary barrios were established and the proof of it is the setup of residential communities nowadays in Sta. Ana, Sta. Mesa, and San Andres. Etc. At last the commoner were given attention as to their position in the society. Though still many of them were regarded as carriers of tropical diseases.


      Because of the master plan of the American Imperial government in transforming their newly acquired territory in the Far East, many of the talented and skillful Filipinos were able to study abroad and later become the 1st generation of local architects and designers. With their acquired skill, they help built what become later a genius of the Filipino architects in space management and architectural designs. From them sprung the first school of architecture through Tomas Mapua, founder of the Mapua Institute of Technology.


      The newly learned architects brought their love and knowledge in neoclassicism to the Philippines, later becoming leaders of their field and departments. Then came the second generation of Filipino architects who were inspired of what was happening in the west in the so called “Roaring Twenties”, the coming of age of the Art Deco. Shifting from ornamental and classical style of architecture from the 1st generation of architects, 2nd generation of architects who are the proponents of Art Deco architecture (in the Philippines) used simplified yet elegant, functional, and ultra modern. As Art Deco was purely decorative, unlike many design movements that were rooted on political, philosophical intentions.


      With that movement in the early 20th century, the Philippines really become a part of the new world.”

                [1] Article. Art Deco. 12, December 2007. <> The Encyclopedia of Philippine Art. The American Colonial And Contemporary Traditions

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