The Architecture Of Cuba


Cuban architecture is distinctive and characteristic, as history of this amazing country itself. Colorful landscapes and strong contrasts reflect not only through visual impression, but cultural, social and political history. The architecture of Cuba is the same as its past – imaginative, unusual, different and specific.

During your stay in Cuba, you can see the strong forms of past times in the form of old colonial buildings that are symbols of the previous époques, standing just near the new age architecture – skyscrapers. As you observe Cuban architecture and urbanism, you will notice how former regulations create ambient and unique spaces and once again feel like you stepped into a time machine. Major cities such as Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Matanzas and Trinidad, which were built in the early history of Cuba, followed the Regulation of the Spanish King Philip II, issued in 1573. These regulations prescribed that the Cathedral, the administrative office buildings and the Palace of Governors occupy all four sides of the central square. Cities are placed according to orthogonal networks that have formed the city streets, in case of sudden incensement of the population. The concept is proposed in way which allows expansion of the city.

Builders and craftsmen have achieved impressive results only by using materials available in Cuba, following the simplified Spanish design. This approach when it comes to design, once again, created places which are famous for its own sensibility and uniqueness.

Typical characteristics of Cuban colonial house consisted of a central courtyard, vaulted fronts, high decorative wooden ceilings and tall front door which in themselves have built a unique element ‘Postigo‘ or the panel above the door, which, if necessary, could open in order to provide additional brightness or failed gentle breeze, while the door remains closed. Houses, cathedrals and some public buildings have on themselves Arabian stained glass window by the Cuban architecture gives one specific character.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the cities of Cuba grew while many famous buildings were raised. Some of the representatives are: the fortress El Moro de Santiago de Cuba (1633), the Cathedral in Havana (1787-1811), the monasteries of Santa Clara and San Agustin in Havana (17th Century), the Church of Santa Maria Rosario (1779), and the Market arms (Plaza de Armas of Havana, 1772).

And what about all those colorful buildings? They are also a product of its historical change. Havana is often called as a “city painted in blue and green”. Today it is a major tourist destination on the island because of its centuries-long history, extraordinary beaches, incredible cultural wealth which is reflected in the colonial center of Old Havana and in great mixture of architectural styles.

Old Havana is the best example of colonial architecture on the island throughout the Caribbean and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cuba. Declared as world cultural heritage by UNESCO in 1982 in order to preserve the architectural and historical heritage, Old Havana has saved many beautiful and important squares, buildings, historic monuments, museums and forts from the colonial past of the island. Famous for the richness of the colors and textures of the facades, which create unforgettable ambient and unique sense of a place, when the vivid tones of the streets combine with the vintage classic cars, cigars, music and dancing.

During the 19th century Cuban architecture has been introduced to some changes which gave a new appearance to the architectural heritage. Soma new parts were added: stained-glass windows instead of colored paint and, speaking of architectural form, it have witnessed some changes as well, such as entrance porches with slim arcades and columns. Also, it is interesting to mention that influence of the Art Deco Movement can be spotted as well, like in the case of the Fausto Theatre on Pased del Prado, with its stone dust texture and recognizable from.

However, things have started to change in the mid-20th century, when architects adopted new international styles, especially those represented at the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. Likewise, Modernist Movement has influenced Cuban architecture and created distinctive Cuban architecture designed by architects such as Nicolás Arroyo, Gabriela Menéndez and Antonio Quintana, who were not replicating European architecture but creating its own – designed from the context, nature and uniqueness of the space.

In recent history, the Cuban architecture followed the simple and uniform line of buildings constructed in such a way that would be practical and economically viable. Most buildings constructed after 1959 were built as residential housing in the suburbs and surrounding villages, aimed to house the poor population. This architecture took architecture styles of Soviet countries as a role model. These rectangular dwellings were built of concrete blocks and pressed marble, which was used for flooring. The facilities were built after the model Soviet countries constitute a recognizable landmark and contrast to the more tropical and colonial examples of Cuban architecture built before 1959. Today Cuba reflects its architecture – a combination of tones, styles and forms and all packed into real harmony of the place.



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