Havana Houses

Architecture XX and XXI centuries

In the XXth century through the entire world contradictions of all sorts in the different nations are becoming worse, this also took place in Cuba and the architecture is a token of this past. 

sample imageIn the first half of the XXth century the subject of housing can be used as an example, because the farmers were building “bohios” almost with the same characteristics as the one invented by the aborigines. 

The city workers in general were living piled up in rooms made in the riches’ mansions, in and outside of what is now known as “Centro Histórico de la Ciudad”, the historic city center and in the streets adjacent which from the XIXth century made the cities and the villages bigger. 

The rich then moved further away from the places where those people lived and built luxurious housings in developing centers of national importance like Vedado o Miramar. 

During this first half appeared quarters such as Pogolotti in Marianao (1910), built with low cost materials without any decorative intentions. In 1926 Lugardita and in 1944 the workers quarter of Luyano with elements of modern architecture. 

These constructions answered a necessity more than a real wish to build pretty places for the population. 

The governments of that time concentrated on the construction of public pieces like the nation’s capitol, a copy of the one in Washington DC; the Presidential palace in La Havana now museum of the revolution; the Presidio Modelo on the Isla de Pinos or the Carretera Central (main road)  to better link the country’s economic centers. 

sample imageDuring the first four decades of the past century the architecture was characterized by mixture, mixed constructive elements were used with different styles of ornamentals, eclectic is a good way to describe this time. The best example of that are the Presidential palace now museum of the revolution and the Hotel National. 

In the 40’s and 50’s more “art déco” and “art nouveau” constructions appear. 

Other trend of the last two decades of the XXth century was the excessive use of crystal in the exterior parts of buildings particularly noticeable in big hotels like “el Riviera”, “Habana Hilton”, now “Habana Libre”. 

New public work were the Tunnel of Havana Bay, the speedway Monumental between others. But the situation of housings for example for the farmers and the workers very little changed, dirty neighborhoods appeared as example of the state disinterest. 

Sample imageFrom 1959 the second half of the XXth century started characterized by the state interest to solve the housing issue, in that sense new neighborhoods with buildings made with new building solutions, like the prefabricated system or unlinking molds which allows to build faster, without the necessity of ostentous ornamentations but with a solution of decoration for the families in need. 

Furthermore the constructions are upgraded with social themes such as schools, kindergarten, hospitals and polyclinics. Appear also some sport complexes and new universities, materials like a mix of rocks and sand, plastic are used to allow different building solutions.  

Hotels are still being built with those languages more functional and the interest like in other subjects to link the constructions with its natural environment. All these constructions with their representatives’ characteristics are still with us today in the first decades of the XXIst century.