Designed by three architects, one Cuban and two Italian, the new schools were constructed in flamboyant, sinuous forms deliberately reflecting the local landscape. Built in brick and terracotta as a pragmatic response to the US embargo of imported steel, ... these were a confident repudiation of Western-style International Modernism. But of the five original schools in the complex, only two were completed, as the deepening relationship with the USSR prompted disdain for such exotic forms — theartnewspaper.com
More on Archinect:Unfinished Spaces premieres tomorrow night on PBS; Archinect talks to the filmmakerHow Havana tries to come out of its crumbling shell without betraying Cuba's revolutionary rootsSelling Cuba (Gehry's already there)The promises and problems of a Cuban architecture marketRicardo...
I’m on a walking tour with two dozen international architects and urban designers, as we imagine a theoretical future for Havana. The walk is part of a charrette—an exercise that gives professionals and community members a voice on urban development when there is no formal mechanism to do so, as has been the case in crumbling Havana. [...]
As the Cuban government slowly loosens restrictions on private enterprise, one wonders if the gentrification of Havana is inevitable. — Hakai Magazine
The American government’s relaxation of its 56-year embargo against Cuba and the inauguration of direct flights from China has triggered a race to invest in the island’s tourist infrastructure [...]
There are reports that China’s Suntime International Economic Trading Company will go ahead with a luxury hotel in Havana, in a joint venture Cuba’s state tourism agency, Cubanacán. The size of the hotel is reported variously at 600 to 650 rooms, with Suntime investing up to $150m — Global Construction Review
While diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US have thawed during the Obama administration, the embargo still remains in place effectively. But companies like Marriott International (whose chief executive will accompany the President on his historic visit to the island later this month) are...
“I give it two years, max [...] It will be US business interests that finally push congress into lifting the embargo – they’re all going crazy being shut out of this market.” American architects and developers are already queuing up to be first in line, ready to pounce on investment opportunities when the embargo drops. Frank Gehry sailed into Havana in December, aboard a streamlined yacht he designed for himself, here to “offer his expertise to Cuba” according to a government statement. — theguardian.com
“You know that Cuba is at the centre of attention of many people,” Gehry told the gathered crowd. “And in the immediate future it will attract many investors – particularly the tourism sector. But I am sure that you know to be careful with those projects.”Related stories in the Archinect...
Would-be investors would face other obstacles even if the embargo were lifted... Cuba is still tightly controlled by its Communist government. [...]
In any case, most architectural work in Cuba today focuses on the restoration of Havana’s immense historic building stock—two-thirds of which is in disrepair—and on bringing Havana into the 21st century without imperiling its heritage. — architectmagazine.com
More on Cuba:Take a virtual tour of Havana's modern architecture"American Disruption, at Home and Abroad": Gehry's Facebook HQ opens and Airbnb comes to Cuba on Archinect Sessions Episode #24Airbnb now open for business in Cuba, despite anemic internet accessA glimpse at Havana's rooftop dwellers...
With the historic lifting of the Cuban embargo creating an instant rush to visit the long-cloistered island nation, a rush for rediscovery will bring all manner of Cuban art, culture and design to the fore.
While it's not always acknowledged as such, Cuban architecture, especially modernist buildings, showcase an eclectic and exciting blend of styles, from the Spanish and Art Deco buildings that preceded them to the modern and Brutalist influences that came during the postwar period. — curbed.com
For more on Cuban architecture:Airbnb now open for business in Cuba, despite anemic internet accessA glimpse at Havana's rooftop dwellers as urban landscape transformsCuba in talks for cultural exchange with US museumHavana's overlooked Art Deco architecture
Whatever becomes of Facebook’s corporate future – and therefore the consequential Internet – will play out in the world of Frank Gehry. The architect’s new HQ for Facebook in Menlo Park, MPK20, opened earlier this week with plentiful Instagrammed fanfare, and Facebook recently submitted...
[Airbnb] says its model—stay in somebody’s home, pay less than a hotel would charge—will help it facilitate travel that won’t pave over Cuba’s unique character, forged by decades of isolation from its northern neighbor.
“Think about the big hotel chains coming in, with mass development,” says Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb co-founder ... “The idea here is to support growth in travel that isn’t disruptive, that actually celebrates and preserves Cuba as a distinct destination.” — bloomberg.com
According to bloomberg.com, Airbnb is one of the first U.S. companies to extend operations into Cuba since diplomatic ties between the two countries were re-opened last December. The article refers to "a broad range of colonial architecture ... at extremely low rates". Apparently Airbnb was quick...
In overcrowded Central Havana and in the historic quarter, the shortage of places to live and play and find much-needed privacy pushed the city upward, spilling onto the rooftops.The technical term for it is 'parasitic architecture.' The Cuban government doesn’t encourage the practice, but in the city’s oldest and most dilapidated neighborhoods, longtime roof-dwelling families...were usually allowed to stay. The parasites became permanent. — The Washington Post
Ricardo Porro, an architect who gave lyrical expression to a hopeful young Cuban revolution in the early 1960s before he himself fell victim to its ideological hardening, died on Thursday in Paris, where he had spent nearly half a century in exile. He was 89.
His death was confirmed by friends and associates, including John Loomis, the author of “Revolution of Forms: Cuba’s Forgotten Art Schools.” — nytimes.com
Cuba is in talks with the Bronx Museum to organise the first major exhibition by a US museum in the country, according to local reports. The show would be part of the 12th edition of the Havana Biennial next year, and could be followed by an exhibition in New York in 2016 that would feature work by Cuban artists. [...]
During her opening remarks, Perera emphasised the role of culture in “breaking barriers imposed by governments that have nothing to do with the will of the artists” [...]. — theartnewspaper.com
Unfinished Spaces by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray continues to gain recognition since its initial release in 2011. In addition to previous grants and awards, the documentary film recently won the 2014 Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Award for Film and Video at the 2014 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. Established in 2013, the annual award is given to the most distinguished international work of film or video on the history of the built environment. — bustler.net
Reflective of its Cuban Revolution setting in 1961, Unfinished Spaces tells the complex tale of Cuba's historic National Art Schools project commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to visionary architects Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti, and Roberto Gottardi. Construction of the school...
the Communist deputies will convene beneath weighty chandeliers and a newly gold-coated dome. They will step through marble-floored halls, lined with giant shining bronze candelabras from Tiffany's..."I believe it will be a jewel of Havana," argues Mr Leal, unfazed by the oddity. — BBC News
Carlos Acosta's plan to inject life into the island's hidebound ballet scene by refurbishing Havana's crumbling dance school and turning it into an international center for culture and dance has ignited controversy for daring to reimagine the original architect's vision.
Acosta was visibly frustrated by the flap over what he views as a way to give something back as he prepares to retire from London's Royal Ballet after a celebrated career. — npr.org
Unfinished Spaces, a film that we've previously covered here on Archinect, is a documentary about the ambitious Cuban National Art School project, conceived, and ultimately killed, by the revolutionary communist Cuban regime. In addition to an exhaustive schedule of screenings, it will...
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