Next Project

Two Projects for Centro Havana

Part 2 Project 2011
Alex Stevens
University of East London, UK
In 2011 communist Cuba is in a period of political change. Raul Castro is reducing the state’s control of the economy and allowing private ownership. The people now have the chance to set up small businesses and work their way out of poverty. Tourism is growing and there is an increase in business relations with other countries.

The two projects designed deliver architectural solutions acknowledging this political change whilst also addressing current social problems. The buildings provide for the new opportunities the people of Cuba are gaining whilst fitting in with the social and cultural context of Centro Havana.

The library on the Prado holds a collection of resources, and services to help the local community develop, in particular for the setting up of privately owned businesses. The Library also provides conference space and function rooms for the businessmen and women visiting Cuba. Positioned between two existing buildings along a promenade the slim terraced form of the Library has a powerful presence. On ground level the building connects to a new shaded public space with a concrete stair positioned among columns that lift the building entirely off the ground.

The second project sits within a void left from a fallen garage. The project provides much needed adaptable housing for people left to live in cramped conditions after their previous homes have become uninhabitable. The project also caters for the surrounding residents, providing sanitation facilities and workshop spaces. Urban agriculture now plays an important role in the production of food for local people. On a raised podium a community garden provides space to grow food away from ground level that is prone to flooding.

Building studies investigating the relationship between form and atmosphere inspired physical models used to test and describe the lighting and proportions of the spaces within the two projects. Prototypes of innovative yet simple construction techniques were tested and developed at full scale to achieve the varying characteristics of space. By utilising local materials and construction methods it is hoped the buildings are contemporary yet fitting additions to the city of Havana.

Alex Stevens


Mr Mark Hayduk
• Page Hits: 5340         • Entry Date: 02 September 2011         • Last Update: 02 September 2011