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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Cold, severe, and simple lines, symmetry, simplicity of volume,
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.