Take a tour inside Havana’s Great Houses! American tourism was all but lost there until recently. With renewed diplomatic and economic ties to Cuba and increased plane flights to and from there, tourism is souring. Americans are getting a first look at some of the country’s fabulous architecture.
Hermes Mallea is an architect and author of the book Great Houses of Havana. He is also partner in a design firm based in New York known as the (M)Group. With family roots from Cuba, Mallea has written an elegant book that captures the past century of Cuban Architecture.
Great Houses of Havana celebrates one hundred years of creativity, design, and style that made the city “the Paris of the Caribbean.” For four hundred years, Havana was the center of Spanish trade in the western hemisphere. With the expansion of the sugar industry, independence from Spain, and North American investment, Havana became a city of great wealth, great style, and great houses in a vocabulary that was a unique amalgam of European, American, and Caribbean elements.
Great Houses of Havana traces the evolution of the Cuban home from the classic, Spanish colonial courtyard house to the “Tropical Modernist” villas of the 1950s—houses reflecting international architecture trends while remaining true to the Cuban tradition.
Cuba’s social history is woven throughout the book. Vintage photographs illustrate Havana’s sophisticated lifestyle—the masked balls, yacht club picnics, and dynastic weddings of fashionable Cubans and their international guests. Popular cafes, hotels, theaters, and weekend resorts are also featured, creating a view of the privileged life inside the gated mansions of the city’s grandest neighborhoods.
Please be our guest as Hermes Mallea takes us on our own personal tour of the beautiful homes of Havana. Mallea will speak at our Visitor Center on November 3, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. We hope you’ll join us for his lecture, book signing and reception.