GSD Talks: Mario Coyula

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Havana never was a Caribbean city—but it is increasingly becoming one. The official city, the one most visitors get to see, had strong European, American and even some Russian influence. It was a city that wished to be white, identifying whiteness as a way to move upward and become cosmopolitan. Official pre-revolutionary Havana—urban, cosmopolitan, white and petty-bourgeois—has experienced a partly planned but mostly spontaneous readjustment that responds to the interests of new social actors, mostly Cubans of African descent. In this seminar, Professor Coyula discusses this process and the impact of these citizens on the social fabric and built landscape of the city of Havana.

Mario Coyula Cowley is a Cuban architect, urban designer and critic. He is an authority on the history and preservation of Havana, and he received the National Prize of Architecture in 2001. He is former director of the CUJAE’s School of Architecture and of the Architecture and Urban Planning Department of Havana, as well as of the Group for the Integral Development in Havana. He is also co-author of the book Havana: Two Faces of the Antillean Metropolis (London and Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2002) with Roberto Segre and Joseph L. Scarpaci, Jr., and most recently, the fiction book, Catalina (Sevilla: Editorial Renacimiento, 2011). Dr. Coyula returns to Harvard after having served as a Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor from 2002-2003 at the Graduate School of Design.

Cuban Studies Program, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


Additional Speakers:

Lee Cott, Bruner/Cott Architects and Planners Seth Riseman, Utile

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].