Post-Apocalyptic Miami: Architecture in Havana Cuba

The architecture in Havana, Cuba, makes you say ah, and brings tears to your eyes, all in the same moment.

Architecture in Havana
View of the Capitol over the Malecon

It is said that Havana is a city that is stuck in time.  The architecture in Havana is there to prove it.  Walking through Old Havana, there is a unique blend of centuries of architecture – colonial Spanish buildings from the 1600s, baroque influences in the 1700s, Neo-Classical in the 1800s, and Art Deco in the early 1900s.  


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Architecture in Havana
The Malecon, and waterfront property

They all have one thing in common – they are stuck in time, generally in a state of disrepair since mid-century.  Although some private enterprise and joint ventures have started to creep through the hard exterior of the architecture in Havana, providing a fresh coat of paint and more safe interiors, most of the city just feels derelict.

Architecture in HavanaIn general, the city exudes a level of decrepitness that is not seen in most places.  In Sarajevo, and more so in Mostar, Bosnia, we saw cities destroyed by a modern war.  In Havana, there was no war – just a society that was unable to improve and maintain its surroundings due to the political circumstances.  The architecture in Havana suffered, as well as the population as a whole. HavanaWhen walking down the Malecon, the picturesque sea front drive, I imagined what the city would look like with more investment.  Now, it looks like a post-apocalyptic Miami.  A city with beautiful architecture with water front property, which is decrepit, crumbling, and often abandoned.  Many of the buildings show no sign of life – at least no one should be living in them.  But, they are filled with potential.  They could offer an amazing, and uninterrupted vista on the ocean.  A development potential unrivaled in most of the world.  

The government is sponsoring a rehabilitation of the Malecon, and other architecture in Havana.  I imagine a future where current residents, to the extent there are any, are pushed out in a gentrification to the extreme.  I also imagine a future where international investors, Cuban exiles, and hotel chains, clamor to get the best property locations, particularly as Cuba opens more to travel.  I only hope that future reconstruction is completed in a thoughtful way – with an intent to preserve the amazing potential and history of this unique city. HavanaThe final product? Hope for the future.

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