Rising from of the Ashes: post-war Philippines Architecture






Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


The 1945 battle for liberation witnessed the massive decimation of Manila’s urban built-heritage and the irreplaceable treasures of colonial architecture. Despite the seemingly impossible task to resuscitate war ravaged Manila, it rose again. Out of the ashes, modernism provided the opportunity to craft a new architecture for a newly independent nation. Modernism emerged as the period’s architectural symbol of survival and optimism. In a post-colonial cultural milieu, Filipino architects pursued the iconography of national mythology channeled through the pure surfaces and unadorned geometries of modern architecture. They found in modernism a convenient aesthetic modus to denounce the colonial vestiges embodied in the infrastructure of American neoclassicism in pre-war Manila and sought to create new-built environments that conveyed emancipation from the colonial past and celebrate the vernacular forms processed through modernist geometric simplification. Modernism, therefore, was a logical choice, for it provided a progressive image. The Philippines post-independence architecture endeavored to dispense an image that stimulated a national spirit, inspired patriotism, and invoked faith in the unknown future of the national imagination.

How to Cite

Lico, G. (2017). Rising from of the Ashes: post-war Philippines Architecture. Docomomo Journal, (57), 46–55. https://doi.org/10.52200/57.A.UP2JBXRH




Author Biography

Gerard Lico, University of the Philippines Diliman

Professor in the College of Architecture, University of the Philippines at Diliman. He is a multi-awarded author of publications on Philippine architecture and cultural studies, designer and curator of pioneering exhibitions in architecture, and producer and director of film documentaries on Philippine architecture and allied arts. He is currently the Consulting Architect for the restoration of the Manila Metropolitan Theater.


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