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(video) Rolling in the dark

The Future of Cuban Architecture

Here we are, March 2016, a historic moment for Cuba and its people. As I write this, the Obamas are in Havana and the stage is ready for The Rolling Stones concert on Good Friday (a very good Friday indeed). It’s an exciting time for Cubans, full of grand expectations for a better life and more freedoms. Wheels are set in motion and there is no turning back now, but there are still more questions than answers. “Change is coming” is on everybody’s lips, but what kind of changes and to what extent is all this going to bring? Most importantly, to me at least, what is going to happen with the art? Is it going to become a talentless imitation of “western art”, or is it going to retain originality with more opportunities for artists to show their talent to the world? And what will the future bring for Cuba’s beautiful architecture?

Recently, I came across an Aljazeera interview with a renowned Cuban architect and urban planner Miguel Coyula. I am going to point out a couple of things before I let you watch it, and trust me, it is well worth 24 minutes of your time. I was almost shocked at how freely Mr. Coyula expresses his opinions, a luxury I am afraid Cubans will no longer have in the future. I admire that – labeling things and people as they are. The other thing is, I agree with him one hundred percent. Monstrous Cancun-style hotels and Miami-style condos, flashy billboards, fast food joints and DIY reality shows – no, thank you. There’s already plenty of that elsewhere.

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