Heritage4Cuba supports Cuba to enhance the architectural and cultural heritage of Havana

HAVANA, Dec. 10th Early this year, the “Heritage4Cuba” Architecture Competition was launched to reward the most innovative ideas to reuse historic buildings in Havana. Cuban architects, students, and engineers have applied to the call with innovative and sustainable proposals for the restoration and reuse of two historic buildings in Havana, San Isidro, and San Ignacio. On 18 October 2019, the competition jury chaired by  Italian and Cuban members, UNIDO ITPO Italy and UNESCO proclaimed the winners of the architecture competition Heritage4Cuba.

This year Havana, the capital city of the island Cuba and its economic and cultural center, is celebrating this year in Havana. 16 November marks the 500th anniversary of its foundation under the name of Villa de San Cristóbal de La Habana. Havana is one of the oldest cities in what the settlers called the New World: a history that is evident in its people, in its colorful architecture, in its avenues and stately buildings.

Within the framework of this anniversary, Heritage4Cuba aims to enhance the historical and architectural heritage of Havana and to raise awareness of the urban redevelopment of historic buildings on the island. Heritage4Cuba is promoted by UNIDO ITPO Italy, in collaboration with the Historian’s Office of Havana City and the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy and the private sector, to enhance the architectural and cultural heritage of Havana.

Organized in cooperation with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Triennale Milano, the Biennal of Havana 2019, the University of Trieste, the University of Udine and Rizzani De Eccher Spa, the Heritage4Cuba #BestDesignAward fosters institutional and entrepreneurial cooperation in restoration and urban-architecture development with the goal to redesign new areas for the cultural & creative industry and promote inclusive and sustainable growth of Cuba.

In July, Cuban architects, designers, and civil engineers were called to come up with the best innovative ideas, for the best architectural reuse projects of 3 historic buildings of Havana to be rewarded. How does design shape or transform the historical building and how does it structure and transform our individual lives and society as a whole?” A key theme of the award was: urban sustainability as a strategic asset addressing the economic and social development of territories.

“With the intention of redesigning new areas for the cultural & creative industry, the ultimate goal of the project is to raise awareness of the historical and architectural heritage of the City of Havana and to attract foreign investments for the urban redevelopment of the historic buildings of the island.”, says Vilma Rodríguez Tápanes, Specialist of the Cuban National Council of Cultural Heritage, Professor of Architecture at the Technological University of Havana and Chair at the Havana’s Monuments Commission

The project targets to strengthen the process of conservation, enhancement, and dissemination of the cultural heritage of Cuba through increasing the collaboration between public institutions, non-state actors and local communities. Through the architectural recovery of the historical heritage of Havana, the challenge is to redesign existing buildings to promote creativity as an economic and social drive of sustainable development. Participants were invited to consider how design can empower Cuban heritage through the reuse “spaces” for the cultural and creative industry.

“Heritage4Cuba advocates for the role of Cultural Heritage in the creative industries, saying that “creative industries are also often associated with a “new economy”, driven by “digital” technologies and closely related to the “information” or “knowledge” economy.”, underlines Ana Luiza M. Thompson-Flores, Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe and jury member. “The services and products – tangible and intangible – are often a drive for sustainable development and have a strong social impact on the communities.”

The awarded categories were 3: “Women”, “Young under 35” and “overall category”. Particular consideration was given to projects with an innovative component related to conservation, reuse, and valorization of the historical buildings of Havana and to the urban and territorial context. All participants were awarded a certificate and the 3 best projects a grant.

Winners for the building: Old Housing San Ignacio is Alberto Montero Graniela Architect, group leader, in group with Luis Angelo Montano Rosabal, architect and for the building: Hospice of San Isidro: Eddy Ramos Miranda, architecture student, group leader; in group with Jasiel Lopez Martinez,  architecture student, and Manuel Gonzalez Navea, architecture student; Vanessa Lugo Pérez, architect, group leader in group with Ernesto Antonio Miralles, engineer; and, Laura Rodrìguez Santa Cruz Pacheco, architect, group leader.

Focused on the cultural heritage and creative industries, the winners will now benefit from a 4-week program in the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia and participate in lectures and workshops delivered by the University of Udine and Trieste, Rizzani De Eccher Spa and restoration centers with the aim to enhance the bilateral cooperation.

The award ceremony will take place on 17 December 2019 in Trieste, Italy.

(https://en.unesco.org )