First Period (1844-1865):

  · Features
  · Plazas 
  · Strees
  · Neighborhoods
  · Buildings

First Period (1844-1865): Spans from the declaration of independence to the Restoration and the departure of Spanish troops which had established themselves in the country due to the annexation of the Dominican Republic.

Due to the situation of permanent war against Haiti and Spain at this time, the First Period was a rough and poor era. The island merely subsisted; agricultural production was practically paralyzed and there was no money to save for supplies. For that reason, architecture at this time was characterized by the static. The city of Santo Domingo reflected its accumulated experience as a marginalized colonial center, subjected to the will and plundering of both European powers and pirates during three and a half centuries.


  • Hispanic architectural plans

  • “Checkerboard” urban design
  • Horizontal city plans

  • Lots subdivided into irregular plots

  • Closed patios

  • Inward-facing buildings

  • Beautiful interior facades

  • Bare external facades except for small tablatures around windows and/or doorways, usually in groups of two or three.

  • High, wide, and strong doors, usually lacking adornment

  • High, simple windows with small tablatures in brick and flat tile. These were usually protected by an iron grille.

  • Proliferation of balconies (running and individual) with more pronounced ledges. More often than not, these balconies were roofed.

  • Lack of roads. Roads were often dirt, irregular, and were not well-kept.

  • Humble, shack-style residences characterized by walls made of fine ligneous wood, cane, or bamboos joined with ligatures. Roofs were not sloped and were made of yagua, cane, or flat wooden boards.

  • Homes were generally one story, or two in the case of wealthy residents in the city center.

  • Gravel-style ceramic floors appear

  • Tapia walling, a mixture of clay-rich land, gravel and cement, was the most-used material for the construction of houses among the wealthy of the day.

  • Ruined, once-decadent grandeur, reminiscent of the ephemeral splendor of the colony
  • Different styles of buildings at the time:

    • Medieval architectural backdrop of tapia walling and whitewash.

    • Renaissance influence

    • Plasencia-style, Mudéjar (Andalusian/Muslim), Moorish, Gothic, and ironwork details.

    • French-influences elements that allowed the connection between exterior and interior spaces.

    • These features combined to create a style that has been called “Neocolonial Republican”. An example of this can be seen in the building at 176 Espaillat Street in the Colonial City.

  • Plazas or small squares configured in a grid, dispersed throughout the city, bare and treeless.
  • The walled city of Santo Domingo. The North wall had eight forts, the Western wall had four, that of the South bank had several smaller battalions along with its cliffs, while the Eastern perimeter was protected by the natural barrier of the river and three fortresses, one of the which was located in the estuary of the river.
  • Almost no overall architectural production, due to the general poverty of the rising republic.

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