Castro's Dream

Following the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara selected the Havana Country Club as the site for a series of National Art Schools, educating students of ballet, modern dance, music, and the dramatic and plastic arts. The architects Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi designed the five schools, each reflecting the utopian aspirations of the Revolution. While each is different in plan, all were intended to harmonize with the landscape of the country club, be built using local materials and deploy Catalan vaults in the roofing. Work on these buildings halted after the Missile Crisis of 1965, and none were entirely completed. In subsequent years, the empty schools were neglected and vandalized. A number of exhibitions and lectures devoted to the schools started to reverse this trend in the mid 1990’s. Since then, the Cuban Ministry of has Culture established a center for project development and management (CIMC), with the intention of restoring and completing the schools according to the original plans. In 2002-2003, the CIMC team created a master plan for the schools and the surrounding landscape, reflecting a renewed interest in what has become one of the best-known works of architecture of the Cuban Revolution.

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