The New “American” House in the Colonial Philippines and the Rise of the Urban Filipino Elite

Kiyoko Yamaguchi



In addition to the bahay na bat0 of the Spanish period, what other historicalarchitectural structures can be found in Philippine cities? Thisarticle argues in favor of the importance of Amwican-period public buildings,which showcased American superiority, and the Filipino urbanelites' interpretation and appropriation of American colonial culture andtheir creation of "American-style" dwellings. Because Americans did notbuild houses either for Filipinos or for themselves, Filipino elites, particularlyin regional cities where professional architects were almost nonexistent,were the ones who created "American" wooden houses and thusdeclared their claims to colonial modernity. These elite houses thenbecame intertwined with family histories and their rise to economicprominence, as several examples from Cebu demonstrate.

KEYWORDS: American colonialism, public buildings, residential architecture,family histories, Cebu

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