For our ongoing ‘Building Culture’ series, Anna Izquierdo captures a city where its fluctuating social and political history is mirrored in its architecture.
A history of assimilation and unrest manifests in Havana’s diverse buildings: Spanish townhouses, replete with tiles and patios, are visual reminders of colonisation during the sixteenth century; the Neoclassical columns and pastel colours a marker of the French retreat to Cuba from Haiti, in the early nineteenth century. The Art Deco institutions mirror the heavy influence of the United States in the early twentieth century; Cuban Baroque—inspired by European Baroque but with an added layer of texture—became popular in the eighteenth century; and raw, Brutalist buildings are remnants of the Cuban Revolution in the sixties.
This Caribbean city is a melting pot: a humid island where eclectic architectural styles from around the globe find their way in. The buildings mark the city’s outside influences, but what happens in and around them marks the native culture. An infectious charm exists in the streets as music, smells and a vibrant way of life dance around the architecture.