Raul Barreneche -- Interior Design, 9/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
For most Americans, Cuban architecture is synonymous with Havana's elegantly crumbling colonial and beaux arts facades. "Architecture and Revolution in Cuba, 1959-1969," at New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture, offers an unprecedented look at modernism during Fidel Castro's first decade in power.
The exhibition features more than 100 housing developments, schools, and medical clinics built before crippling shortages and Soviet-style planning ended the modernist euphoria, and many designers fled the island. "These very well trained young architects were struggling to develop a style of Cubanismo balanced with international trends," says Storefront board president Belmont Freeman, who worked closely with the show's curator, Havana-based historian Eduardo Luis Rodríguez.
Most of the nearly 200 archival photographs have rarely been seen in Cuba—and certainly never outside it. The recent tightening of the U.S. embargo makes this event that much more extraordinary. September 14–October 30; 212-431-5795; storefrontnews.org.