RESPECT THE AUTHENTICITY OF AN ARTWORK
Dear Norman Foster,
Having not received a response to the personal letter I sent you on 19th September 2012 and having been encouraged by recent conversations at international gatherings in Brasil, Cuba, Austria, and others where I was invited to talk about the National Schools of Arts, I write you this open letter. As you know, the Ballet School I designed is part of a unique and inseparable Complex of five buildings that are integrated into the park of the former Country Club of La Habana. The aim was to create a “campus”, subdivided into pavillons and joined by paths through the park, that should became a landmark for the artistict training of youth Cubans and beyond. The greatest Cuban artists recognized today in the world were mostly formed in these Schools. The authors of these Schools, besides me, are the Architects Ricardo Porro (Plastic Arts and Modern Dance),and Roberto Gottardi (Dramatic Arts). The program of the five Schools responded to the idea of strong integration, exchange and experimen- tation among the different artistic disciplines within a single unified campus. The Schools and their history have been published in numerous architecture and art books, first among them is Revolution of Forms, Cuba’s Forgotten Art Schools, of which you have a copy. Various film documentaries for tv shows and cinema were realized, one above all lavishly awarded in several Cinema International Festivals. Their story and the current debate continue today all over the Internet.
The entire Complex of the five Schools of Arts and the park surrounding them has been declared National Monument by the Cuban Government. The Schools have been on the WATCH list of the World Monuments Fund as the WMF’s first listed works of endangered modern architecture, and are also candidates for World Heritage designation by UNESCO. This proves that we are dealing with a work of art and architecture of historical and international renown that deserves to be respected. With this open letter, I wish to express together with the undersigned, my bewilderment at the fact that You developed a feasibility study for the restoration of the Ballet School bypassing, and not even consulting whatsoever, the author of the work, and moreover ignoring concrete plans for restoration that I have developed over the last ten years, of which the last one is the only plan approved by the National Commission of Monuments in Cuba.
In light of the aforementioned considerations, the undersigned demand that the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte be respected together as a whole entity, single campus and that the restoration of the Ballet School be returned to an environment of fairness and responsibility to its author, Architect Vittorio Garatti
Architetto VITORIO GARATTI
Milano, 13th November 2013