In the late 1930’s, Welton Becket had the opportunity to travel to Manila to consult with the Philippine government on housing for low-income families. After leaving for a three-month stay, Becket landed a $1,000,000 commission to design a new Jai Alai Auditorium in Manila. The firm’s first international commission – completed in 1940 – the building withstood the ravages of World War II; according to Becket, “The Jai Alai palace was the only major structure in Manila to stand up under both the Japanese and American bombings. It was constructed so strongly and served so well as a shelter during air raids that it was used by the top staffs of both the American and Japanese Armies when they were in Manila.”
Unfortunately, the building did not survive the post-war years, and was demolished in 2000 – defying preservationists who rallied to save the building, one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in Asia.