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Old 08-15-2019, 09:32 AM
 
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Yellow

Yellow is a Dominican small engineering and architectural firm with a very cool looking offices in Santo Domingo. The building is a Dominican design (the same firm that it house design the building) incorporating several architectural aspects. A perfect exposition of Dominican postmodern architecture. Its a structure that catches the attention to everyone passing by it the first time.







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Old 08-15-2019, 10:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AntonioR View Post
Ruinas del Ingenio Engombe

The site is within the Parque Mirador del Oeste on the bank of the Haina River in the municipality of Santo Domingo Oeste. The Ruinas del Ingenio Engombe dates from the early 1500's and was one of the first sugar mills in the Western Hemisphere. The ruins consist of the main manor house that belong to the Spanish owner and his family, a private chapel with a giant tree in front that most likely already existed when it was first built, and other ruins scattered around the immediate area. The area is still very rustic, some say original. It's on the list of the UN to become another World Heritage Site.


The main house belonging to the owner. Notice the similarities with the Alcázar de Colón in Santo Domingo and Hernan Cortés house in Cuernavaca, Mexico.














The private chapel has survived the 500 plus years, except the inside materials such as the benches and the altar.


The giant tree is in front of the chapel. Most likely it already existed when the buildings were constructed. If only the trunk can talk of what it witnessed during the past five centuries! It looks ita age not only by its size, but also the relatively few leaves point to the tree living its final years.

Is there any other plantation/mill from the slavery times still standing in DR? I far as i understand this is the only one left.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:52 AM
 
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Barrios Informales

Many areas of Santo Domingo de Guzmán (and the DR in general) has barrios informales (informal neighborhoods). In many of them people sit by a business or their home for some fresh air and for entertainment looking at the people walking by, playing Dominoes, drinking beer, talking or gossiping with neighbors, etc. What the photos don't show is the heat that tends to be present in these neighborhoods (due to the cement and lack of trees), the music that is often coming from businesses, homes, cars, or boomboxes; the noise coming from television sets in peoples homes or businesses, the conversations tacking place on the street and inside peoples homes because the most common feature for a window is the shutter.

The common denominator in these areas is that they all started as informal settlements of wooden shacks, unpaved roads, no services, etc. They were the product of invasions of land that belong to someone else or the state. The oldest neighborhoods date to the 1960's, when Trujillo's dictatorship fell and passes for moving around within the country was eliminated. As time went on these neighborhoods became more dense as more people arrived from the countryside and from abroad. The dusty unpaved streets were paved by the City Hall, electricity connections was rare as most places are now connected. As peoples income and purchasing power increase, the building material changed from wood to cement. People began to build much higher, the inside of their homes tends to be beautified though not much attention is given to architecture on the outside. These areas don't have much planning, the result is that there are few streets and few parks/green spaces. Whet does exists tends to be upkeep by the government for the benefit of the local people. They have business of all types, government institutions and private ones, etc.

For the past few decades these neighborhoods have stabilized in population and have lost population as people migrate to nicer areas or migrate abroad. In recent years many areas has been impacted by the arrival of Haitian immigrants. Roughly 30% of Santo Domingo's population lives in these types of neighborhoods, though in the 1980's they were considerably more as a percentage of the population, in addition to have a higher density than today and much poorer. Today these types of places is a mixture of poor and lower middle class households. In the recent past (a few decades) these types of neighborhoods were overwhelmingly poor with hardly a lower middle class to speak of. It was also very rare to see vehicles in these areas as well as television sets, washer machines, etc. while now street parking is an issue in many neighborhoods. Geographically these areas constitute around 20% of the city of Santo Domingo.











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Old 08-15-2019, 11:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by upthere22 View Post
Is there any other plantation/mill from the slavery times still standing in DR? I far as i understand this is the only one left.
There are a few ruins scattered about in the rural areas of San Cristobal. Remember that the San Cristobal area has been a major plantation area for centuries. It was one of the few areas in the DR where blacks were a majority because in that zone the majority of the population were slaves. This contrasts sharply in most areas of the DR where slaves were always a minority and the economy was not based on plantations. In fact, before the San Cristobal area became a black majority area (not mulatto), it was a Taino majority area. That should tell you not only that most of the blacks there are legitimate Dominicans from colonial times, but it has been like that for a very long time. In the 1780's that area of San Cristobal from the mountain area to the sea and every relatively flat area between was still known as 'Los Ingenios' (The Plantations). Even in colonial times the population of the area has been referred to as 'negros' (blacks).

Engombe is the closest such ruins to Santo Domingo.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:06 PM
 
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Sectores de Ricos

Sectores de Ricos literally translate to 'Neighborhood of the Rich.' In the municipality of Santo Domingo de Guzmán there are about 20 neighborhoods where houses as seen in this post are common and obviously more areas in the metropolitan area. The neighborhoods are dominated by the upper middle and upper class. Other areas have a significant amount of middle class areas. The common denominator of these areas is that they tend to be on the more quiet side, very green, and can hear the birds singing. The homes range in architectural styles from the traditional to the postmodern and from the kisch to the well designed. Mediterranean styles tend to dominate, which is an influence from Spain. Fancy fences have always been a feature, though now they play a double role of beauty and safety. As I was told once 'una casa sin verja está desnuda' (a house without a fancy fence is naked). Many neighborhoods are private, but many others are public. Its very interesting from an architectural point to see the variety, though many houses can't been seen from the street.





















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Old 08-16-2019, 04:41 PM
 
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Clase Media

For most of the time the Dominican Republic and before that the Spanish part of Santo Domingo consisted of a society where people were either rich or poor. Outside of the 1500s the rich wasn't that rich with the 1600s known as 'El Siglo de la Miseria' (The Century of Misery). In that era things were so bad that women used to share dresses for special events and masses was done early in the morning before the sun came out so the poverty and the poor dressing of the women would be hidden in the darkness. This is the 'rich' segment that we're talking about. In the 1700s and 1800s the situation got better, despite the devastating effects the French and Haitian invasions had on Dominican society starting in 1801 and ending in 1856.

It was not until the dictatorship of Trujillo in the XX Century that a small middle class was formed. This class was entirely in Santo Domingo and depended entirely on the government which create it in the first place. In the 1970s the president Joaquín Balaguer presided not only the growth of the middle class, but also for the first time a middle class dependent on capitalism was created instead of one that depended on the government. In the 1990s, the later half of the 2000s, and the entirety of the 2010s the market based middle class continue to grow. Today the Dominican middle class is the main force maintaining the country since this is the sector that pays the most total taxes. The public hospitals, public schools, public services such firefighters, the roads and highways, etc is mostly due to these people. The middle class is now present not only in Santo Domingo and the its metropolitan area, but also in the major towns and cities in the interior. Most of the middle class lives in the Santo Domingo area and in the Cibao Valley.

The Dominican middle class has several options for living. It ranges from gated communities to areas open to the public, from single family homes to apartment buildings. Due that the DR basically had no sizable middle class until the XX Century and it wasn't until the last decades of the XX Century and the beginning decades of the XXI Century that the middle class has grown, living infrastructure tends to be newer. The middle class also has planned communities of single family homes and huge apartment blocks with green spaces, church, various sports facilities, etc. Most of the newer real estate creations is geared towards the middle class, but architecturally is not too engaging and very repetitive. Mediterranean (basically from Spain) values tends to dominate, although for many families there is an influence from the United States too.




























Last edited by AntonioR; 08-16-2019 at 05:03 PM..
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Old 08-17-2019, 06:57 AM
 
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El Conuco Restaurant

Nice restaurant popular with tourists that travel specifically for the city or stay at a beach resort in the east and north coasts and heads to Santo Domingo to spend one day as independent tourists or guided tours. The restaurant specializes on Dominican cuisine, but it has a traditional Dominican theme including dances in traditional dresses for the women and clothing for the men (including a hat). Today a small percentage of the population dresses or live like this, but for centuries it was the dominating image of the Dominican Republic. This was especially in the countryside which had upwards of 80% of the population. In the 1960s it began to change and ironically today 80% of the population is now urban. A ‘conuco’ has always been a small farm with a simple wooden country house (usually made of planks from the Royal Palm tree), thatch roof (usually made from the Cana palm tree and it was changed to corrugated iron known as zinc to reduce the exposure of the population to an insect that used to live in the roof and at night would bite the sleeping natives, infecting many people in the process), an outhouse near by, a rustic kitchen usually in a separate wooden building and the stove was usually a pit with wood and a fire (in the 1970s the government made a campaign to change the fogón for a gas stove as a way to combat deforestation, which was going to disappear soon if nothing was done), dirt floors (today changed to a special cement), etc.

The house itself is a modification of the traditional bohío of the Taino indians. The Spanish made some improvements to make it sturdier and rectangle, plus added some architectural features to the facade. Thatch roof from the Cana palm tree was the preferred type of the of the Taino indian, to the point its a cultural reference to those people. In areas near the border to Haiti a person sees some houses where the African custom of using mud or ground for the walls begins to appear vs the wood of the Royal palm tree that was a marker of the Taino indians.





Until recently it was unheard of for rich houses to even think about using thatch roof for roofing, but now many homes in gated communities tourist areas and geared to the Dominican upper class now incorporate thatch to their roof. In fact, the main airport for tourists is the one serving Punta Cana and one of its features is using thatch for roofing. Now the more modern terminals incorporate thatch into the roof more as a Taino indian cultural expression, though its message is ignored or oblivious to most tourists. People notice it because most airports are not like this, but ignore the meaning or that the airport was intentionally built like that as part of a theme.


Original terminal of the Punta Cana International Airport, two hours from Santo Domingo.




Newer terminal at the Punta Cana International Airport.


I have heard some tourists say that the airport is beautiful or ugly, but its not meant to be judged in those terms. The airport architectural design is a gigantic homage to the original inhabitants of the island of Santo Domingo and a traditional Dominican cultural expression.

Last edited by AntonioR; 08-17-2019 at 08:12 AM..
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Old 08-17-2019, 03:09 PM
 
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Playa Nueva Romana

About an hour east of Santo Domingo is a new development geared towards weekenders. Playa Nueva Romana is targeted to the Dominican middle class and up. Advertisement is seen in several Dominican channels and printed media. It also has a golf course, for now two resorts back to back, and a grand entrance on the Autovia del Este. Eventually the place will have several businesses catering to residents and users. The development is done by the Piñero family from Spain and they brought the famous Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal on its inauguration. Considering there are several options further to the east and the west of this project that caters to Dominicans wanting to have a second home by the beach and several amenities nearby, Playa Nueva Romana will take a couple of years to be entirely filled with homes. This project is also geared to foreigners.






















Last edited by AntonioR; 08-17-2019 at 03:31 PM..
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Old 08-19-2019, 06:42 AM
 
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Park Towers

Park Towers are two buildings that are strategically located on a corner lot and connected with each other in certain floors. The buildings is recently built by the Dominican firm Campagna, Ricart & Asociados and design by a Dominican architect in a minimalist style. The project has two entrances (one for each tower) with a beautiful brown portones that contrast nicely with the mostly white buildings. The area where on top is a pool and social area for residents has a large wall with several lines grouped together, creating a work of art in the process. It's very hard to find good finished images of this building considering its very new, but its style and for is clearly visible.


The sunlight doesn't allow this to be a good quality ohoto, but the style of the buildings is visible.








View from Parque Mirador del Sur when it was under construction.


View from Avenida Independencia once it was completely finished.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:54 AM
 
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Plaza Central

This shopping center was built in the 1980's or 1990's when the middle class had grown and required a place to do its shopping. This was the first mall of Santo Domingo and basically of the Dominican Republic. Today this shopping center on average attracts a more modest clientele. The design was done by a Dominican, but the outside looks better than the inside. In any case, good bargains can be found here with some Dominican chains and international brands are also present. The city has changed a lot in its surroundings, but this plaza has remained more or less looking the same through the years.













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