After I mentioned attending a screening of the new documentary film, Unfinished Spaces, about the National Art Schools in Havana, [my dinner companion] burst out: “What is it about the Art Schools? Why do foreigners love them so much? There’s nothing Cuban about those buildings. They’re ridiculous architecture for Havana and I always hated them.” — Places Journal
On Places, architect Belmont Freeman reconsiders the National Art Schools in Havana — the subject of John Loomis's groundbreaking book Revolution of Forms, as well as a new documentary film and an opera, and a cult favorite among architecture buffs. Does the North American obsession with the art schools carry a whiff of latent colonialism, or even racism? Freeman argues that the dramatic saga of the art schools has obscured the larger narrative of post-revolutionary Cuban architecture.