Despite the rise of more modern, taller “city halls” with more modern amenities, especially the city halls of some of the cities in the metropolis, there is this certain appeal and charm whenever one sees the city hall building of Manila. Maybe it’s partly because it is the city hall of the nation’s capital city. Maybe it’s because of its classic architecture that it has been able to maintain. Whatever the case may be, the Manila City Hall is itself an iconic structure that has managed to become the symbol of the city it represents, something that not all local government office buildings have managed to achieve.
The city hall we see today was first constructed in the late 1930s during the Commonwealth period, a product of a campaign by then Mayor Juan Posadas for Manila to have a new city hall building. The 4-storey structure was built in the neoclassical style architecture designed by Antonio Toledo, who also helped design other neoclassical structures along with Juan Arellano the present National Museum building, the provincial capitol buildings of Cebu and Leyte, among others. It was inaugurated in 1939 by President Manuel Quezon, albeit only the southern portion was fully completed by then. It would take another 2 years for the building to be fully completed. By that time, Mayor Posadas, the one behind the building of the Manila City Hall already died in office. (he died in 1939, shortly after the inauguration) The building suffered some damage due to shelling in the Battle of Manila in 1945 but was reconstructed after the war, faithful to the original architecture of the building. Continue reading