Go tropical, go modern. Go now. Be lucky enough to travel with Eduardo and Monty, who are eager to share mid-century Cuban modernism and mojitos with you. – Modern Cuba traveler October 2015
In what could only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime trip, twenty-five architects, art conservators and architectural thrill seekers took part in the first Docomomo US educational travel tour to Havana, Cuba this past October. The tour, which was led by architect Belmont Freeman and architectural historian and Docomomo Cuba President Eduardo Luis Rodriguez, zigzagged the narrow cobblestone streets and expansive Havana suburbs taking in the innovative Cuban architecture, charming vintage cars and its vibrant culture.
Among the many architectural highlights, travelers were treated to a number of private interior house tours including the House of Alfred de Schulthess (1956, Richard Neutra) now the home to the Swiss Ambassador to Cuba, a rarely-given daytime tour of Cuba’s lush and extravagant Tropicana nightclub (1951-56, Max Borges-Recio), as well as a private tour of the breathtaking Cuban National Schools of Art (1959-64, Ricardo Porro, Roberto Gottardi and Vittorio Garratti). Special excursion trips included the rarely seen Lenin Park (1969-72, Antonio Quintana, Master Plan), the Russian cosmonaut spa Casa e los Cosmonautas (1975, Antonio Quintana) located in the resort town of Varadero, and an afternoon stop to the Soroa Tourist Complex (1960, Emilio Fernández and Eduardo Rodrígues) and the delightful Orquideareo Soroa (1943) botanical garden both located in the Las Terrazas area named a UNESCO Biosphere Preserve in 1985.
Architecture aside, the tour group was treated to lunch excursions at many of Cuba’s most upscale establishments including the Club Havana (former Biltmore Yacht Club), Casa de Amistad (Govantes y Cabarroca, 1929; interiors by Lalique), and Xanadu (1929, formerly the Dupont Mansion). All-in-all, the trip was a fascinating and eye-opening experience through Cuba’s unique and complex architecture.
For those interested in seeing Cuba for themselves, a few seats are still open for the Docomomo US Modern Cuba trip, May 14 – 23, 2016. Details for the trip can be found on our website.
Docomomo US is also considering additional educational travel tours to Brazil (fall 2016), India, Japan and France. To receive advance notice of the Brazil details or for more information on our other tours, contact us at info(AT)docomomo-us.org. Information on the Brazil trip is expected in early 2016.