The Architecture of the Philippines

The architecture of the Philippines is a reflection of the history and heritage of the country. The most prominent historic constructions in the archipelago are from the Spanish, Japanese, Malay, Hindu, Chinese, and American cultures. The pre-colonial architecture of the Philippines consisted of the Nipa hut made from natural materials but there are some traces of large-scale construction before the Spanish colonizers came but not well documented.

An example of this is the pre-colonial walled city of Manila although later after the Spanish colonization, dismantled by the Spaniards and rebuilt as Intramuros. There are also other minor pre-colonial walled cities like Betis and Macabebe. [citation needed] During three hundred years of Spanish colonialization, the Philippine architecture was dominated by the Spanish influences. During this period, Intramuros, the walled city of Manila, was built with its walls, houses, churches and fortress.

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The Augustinian friars built a large number of grand churches all over the Philippine Islands. During this period the traditional Filipino “Bahay na bato” style for the large houses emerged. These were large houses built of stone and wood combining Filipino, Spanish and Chinese style elements. After the Spanish-American war, the architecture of the Philippines was dominated by the American style. In this period the plan for the modern city of Manila was designed, with a large number of neoclassical architecture and art deco buildings by famous American and Filipino architects.During the liberation of Manila by the Americans in 1945, large portions of Intramuros and Manila were destroyed. In the period after the second world war many of the destroyed buildings were rebuilt.

At the end of the 20th century modern architecture with straight lines and functional aspects was introduced. During this period many of the older structures fell into decay. Early in the 21st Century a revival of the respect for the traditional Filipino elements in the architecture returned.

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