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    Dominicana On Line - El Portal de la República Dominicana

    Architecture

    Third Period (1900-1930):

      · Features
      · Plazas 
      · Streets
      · Neighborhoods
      · Buildings

    Third Period (1900-1930): Spans the period from the fall of Ulysses Heureax to Dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo's ascent to power. This has been one of the most rich and prolific interludes in the life of the independent Republic. Many buildings from this time are among the best existing examples of Dominican architecture.

    Features:

    • Construction of buildings in concrete, which changed the external aspect of the urban aggregate. The high degree of plasticity and variety of constructive alternatives presented by this material had a decisive influence on the architectural changes of the period. Concrete construction was definitively introduced by Catalonian immigrants to the Dominican Republic who established themselves in San Pedro de Macorís and Santo Domingo.
    • Spanish trade groups who became established in the country had a fundamental effect on architectural style during this time. These groups, through seeking to define their architectural representation in the Republic, contributed greatly to the delineation of Santo Domingo's urban profile, especially in the city center. Of special note in this group was the engineer Benign Trueba Soares, born in Puerto Rico to Spanish parents.
    • Vertical growth of the city. The phenomenon of spatial closing is seen due to new multi-floor buildings that added height to the urban skyline in Santo Domingo.
    • Disappearance of the walls and enormous expansion of Santo Domingo beyond its original boarders, to the point that in 1930 what had once been considered the "city within a city" was merely regarded as another neighborhood (though it remained the political, economic, social, and productive center of the city).
    • The "city within a city" remained the political center of Santo Domingo, despite the Presidential Mansion and the Office of the Secretary of Development and Communications being constructed in the outskirts of the formerly walled city.
    • The expansion outside Santo Domingo's walls was primarily residential, contributing to a relative intensification of the commercial use of the formerly walled city.
    • The expansion of the city was carried out in two directions: West/Northwest, for the members of the higher classes; North/Northeast, for the poorer classes.
    • In 1930, 60,000 people lived in Santo Domingo, calculating the population of the city to have increased by 45,000 in 30 years.
    • Business Districts:
      In general, the city's original shopping areas were maintained. Economic activity intensified in many of these areas and new commercial centers also arose:
    • El Hospedaje: Located outside the walled city at the south entrance by the Puerta del Conde. Area now formed by the streets Padre Billini and Avenida Independencia.
    • Conde Street: During this time became (and would remain for decades) the primary commercial corridor of the Republic. Housed the country's most prominent and exclusive businesses and establishments. Among the owners of said businesses was a prominent group of Arabs and Turkish nationals. The total saturation of Comercio Street, which for the first decade of the 20th Century did not have any free land, had an undoubted influence on the emergence of the commercial hegemony of El Conde. Comercio Street continued to maintain a high economic profile due to its large import-export houses and the important banking institutions located along it.
    • Santo Tomás Street (known today as Arzobispo Nouel) also began to be used for commercial purposes.
    • Transformation of the lots within the city through external and internal divisions and amalgamations that make it difficult to estimate the original size of the lots. The expansions of the city that replaced the estancias or ranches on the outskirts of Santo Domingo reflected a complete absence of coherent, regulated city planning or a clear identification of blocks. These lots emerged in a "village" style marked by large residences in which gardens and patios surrounded the home which was located in the center of the plot and protected by iron gates and, later, by blocks of concrete.
    • Improvement of City Services:
    • · Telephone and telegraphic systems are expanded to connect the primarily populations of the country. A privately administered city telephone network begins operations in Santo Domingo in 1910. On November 29, 1927, a new telephone system is inaugurated in Santo Domingo. Its headquarters is located on the first floor of the Dirección General de Correos y Telégrafos building at the intersection of Colón and Separación Streets.
    • The mail system gradually benefited from the general unification of the country through the highway and telecommunications systems. Puerto Plata was the exit point for correspondence destined for Boston, a service that was provided by a Norwegian steamship company. Correspondence destined for or which needed to pass through New York was sent via the port of San Pedro de Macorís.
    • Numerous schools and academies were established throughout the country, fruit of the beneficial influence of the Puerto Rican Eugenio María de Hostos. In 1906, Santo Domingo had 68 primary schools and 6 secondary schools, while the Dominican Republic had 299 and 17, respectively. Until the time of the American intervention, when some infrastructure investment was directed towards the sector, Dominican educational centers did not have their own factilties. Rather, they were housed in rented family homes or religious centers such as the chapel Capilla de la Tercera Orden Dominica. In 1914, the Instituto Profesional (Professional Institute) was renamed the Universidad de Santo Domingo (University of Santo Domingo), and included chairs of medicine, surgery, obstetrics and dentistry.
    • Medical services are expanded and improved. The Hospital Billini, Santo Domingo's only public hospital, is reconstructed at the end of the 1920's. The house call remained the primary form of medical attention, though there were a few private clinics such as that of Dr. Del Pozo (located at Number 2 Isabel la Católica Street). Well-known doctors of the day included Dr. Salvador Gautier, Dr. Brenes, Dr. Garrido, Dr. Báez, and Dr. Marchena.
    • Towards the end of the Third Period, water was obtained from rain (via collection in tanks or other receptacles), water wheels, or wells. Well water was only used for heavy cleaning and gardening purposes, as it was brackish. Santo Domingo's first aqueduct was inaugurated in 1929. Its source was the Isabela River.
    • Latrines were the primarily sanitary services, as it was not until the end of the 1920's that the toilet was used among a somewhat considerable portion of the population.
    • The beginning of the Third Period brought with it two important changes with respect to electric power in Santo Domingo: 1) the lighting of the dock and customs, and 2) the purchase of an electric plant that serviced Fort Ozama, which served as the country's military headquarters. By the end of the Third Period and after the American occupation refrigerators began to arrive, increasing the demand for electric power in Dominican residences.
    • As had been custom, trash continued to be thrown into the sea at the location known as El Tripero or burned on patios. A trash collection service was established during the Third Period. This service began with wagons and was eventually carried out by trucks.
    • Introduction of motor vehicles. The first motor vehicles appeared in the country in 1905. The government of the American occupation introduced the use of trucks and buses and contributed to the popularization of the use of the car. The first gas stations were established on Isabel la Católica Street at General Cabral Street, and then at the España Avenue (1924). By 1930 two more existed, one set against the West side of the Parque Independencia (Independence Park) in 1928 and another on Mella Avenue.
    • Current stylistic trends:
    • The styles remained neocolonial and vernacular, enriched by new trends. The scarcity of economic resources confronted by most of the population played a very important role in these developments as residents were forced to build their homes in traditional walling materials, thus remaining faithful to the Hispanic style.
      • Wooden homes with zinc ceilings.
      • Elements of concrete in older Neocolonial Republican constructions. For example, balconies whose iron balustrades were substituted with those in the newer material.
    • Eclecticism. New architectural trends that were incorporated into the Dominican setting were not brought in without undergoing important adaptations. The standard approach was to take elements or criteria from the new and old styles and to apply them in a purely individualistic manner to the original plans in which said elements or criteria were recorded. It was a sort of trial of all styles, according to the personal tastes of the architect, builder, or owner. The blending of inherited neocolonial elements with new stylistic details resulted in three fundamental tendencies in Dominican eclecticism:
      • Neoclassical: Neoclassical elements had been somewhat introduced at the end of the Second Period, but it was not until the Third Period that they were seen with frequency (and always in a local, criollo context). The governments of Morales Languasco, Ramón Cáceres, and Horacio Vásquez reconstructed colonial buildings, transforming their facades and adding formal composite elements typical of the neoclassical:
        • Cold, severe, and simple lines, symmetry, simplicity of volume, moderate decoration.
        • Windows and doors dressed with triangular or singular cornices.
        • Fans in doorways and windows.
        • Prefabricated elements in concrete were well-received.
        • Osvaldo Báez, a Dominican architect educated in France and the son of President Buenaventura Báez, was one of the professionals that also favored the incorporation of what was called the "French style" or "Republican" style. He undertook the restoration of the Government Place (Palacio de Gobierno) (Museo de las Casas Reales).

         

    • Art Nouveau or "Mannerist Naturism": Flourished between 1890 and 1910. Elements of this style were imported to the country by Catalonian immigrants who established themselves in San Pedro of Macorís and Santo Domingo. This style reflected a highly experimental architectural fusion of the tropical with European Modernism.
    • Sinuous, long lines inspired by naturalistic symbolic forms.
    • Asymmetric structures.
    • Use of concrete.
    • Covered only the composition of the elevated structure itself. While it did not replace the straight lines of Neocolonialism, it did soften them.
    • Main proponents of this style in the country were Mr. José Turull, Mr. Jaime Malla, and Mr. José Doménech.
    • Folk: Characterized by the adaptation and/or continuation of stylistic elements from the popular art or typical design of a foreign country. Arose in the country as a form of opposition to the American invasion, and had two main aspects:
    • Neohispanic: Emphasized the use of red tiles on roofs and the cornices of windows and doorways, smooth or rough white stucco walls, columns coupled in entrances and vestibules, half point arches, and glazed ceramics. An example of this aspect of Folk can be seen in the houses at 51 Arzobispo Novel Street and 402 Hostos Streets, in the walled city. This trend was promoted by Spanish immigrants, noteworthy them the architect Pedro de Castro.
    • Neomudejar: Series of roofs that created private areas and established volumetric differentiation in the framework of large composite plans, Arabesque details in arches, reliefs, and ceramics. Especially developed in San Pedro de Macorís and outside Santo Domingo. In the city center, the house at 6 José Reyes Street can be mentioned as an example of this style.
    • Plans imported by Americans during the time of the occupation (1916-1924). These showed a common thread of the concept of harmonious integration of the building with nature, the predominance of horizontal lines, running balconies, inclined ceilings, floors elevated on a base, volumetric autonomy, and the landscaped environment. Due to the fact that they required large plots of land, none of these styles was seen in the walled city. Among the main architects that facilitated the diffusion of these trends are Juan de la Cruz Alfonseca and Antonin Nechodojma:
    • California Style: Characterized by its Spanish air, play with volumes, red tile roofs and whitewashed walls. An excellent example is the old Quinta Michelena, which has today been expanded into the headquarters of the Chancellery on Independencia Avenue.
    • English Plantation Style: Characterized by perimeter balconies that flanked the buildings, zinc ceilings, frontal gardens that served as a prelude to the dwelling, and running balconies. Buildings done in imported wood, wicker furniture. The first example of this style in the country is seen in the 1910's with the Pullmann Residence, which would later be known as the Presidential Mansion before yielding its place to the Palacio Nacional or Parliament.
    • California Bungalow Style: Building surrounded by a balconies or a veranda. Zinc plated ceilings, use of reinforced concrete, colonnades in the front porch in order to cover the projections of the ledges, one story house elevated on its foundation, simple forms, sometimes with an attic. An example of this style is the house at 16 César Nicolás Penson Street in Gazcue.

    Public Works:

    • The government of Ramón Cáceres created the Office of Public Works and placed an American engineer in charge of its management. This new government office created a plan for the national construction of highways and the restoration and renewal of important buildings, streets, and sidewalks. Construction of a sewer system also began. It was this from this presidential mandate that "to govern" came to be almost synonymous with "to build".
    • Establishment of a new railroad between Santiago and Moca. Although an international agreement to this end was signed in 1906, construction on this line did not begin until 1910 and was not completed until 1918.
    • Construction of three large highways that connected Santo Domingo with the South, North, and Eastern regions of the country. The first segments of this road led from the capital to Alcarrizos on one side and to Haina on the other. The Duarte Highway was competed in 1922, connecting Santo Domingo to Santiago via Bonao, La Vega, and Moca. By 1924, the southwestern highway reached arrived at Azua from the capital and the eastern highway went as far as San Pedro de Macorís.
    • A superstructure steel and concrete bridge over the Ozama River was inaugurated in May of 1917.
    • In 1907, it became obligatory that all landowners measure and report land in their possession.
    • A policy was enacted to encourage private landowners to undertake their own works of public infrastructure in the areas surrounding their respective properties. As an incentive for compliance, they were exonerated from paying export taxes for eight years and general taxes were frozen for the same period (1911 Law of Agricultural Concessions).
    • Leveling and regulation of sidewalks (in terms of width). Elimination of animal hitching posts. Construction of drains (during the government of Ramón Cáceres).
    • Construction of the walkway named for President Billini (Paseo or Malecón Presidente Billini) during the government of Ramón Cáceres.
    • Starting during the Cáceres government and for the remainder of the Third Period, reconstruction, improvement, and dredging was carried out on the ports and important springs. New lighthouses were also constructed.
    • Construction of a new municipal slaughterhouse, overseen by the architect Osvaldo Báez Machado.
    • In an attempt to alleviate hygiene problem in the markets, these were object of some remodeling in 1922.
    • External and internal restructuring of public offices.
       










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