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Castro’s Art Schools

Fascinating story of the creation — and abandonment — of National Art Schools in Cuba just after the revolution. The buildings’ design was intended to reflect the revolutionary spirit, but before they could be completed the architects found themselves and their buildings labeled counter-revolutionary, one fled the country, another was jailed. Half-completed, though, they are still in use as an art school, though one in considerable decay. Read the whole story here and see more awesome images here.

“Perhaps it is not incidental that the two schools that inspire us the most are the two schools that lay in the greatest ruin and neglect today; they are also the two schools which most closely connect with the natural terrain of the landscape and most closely relate to the Quibu River. To visit this landscape is to feel, in a very fundamental way, the union between the process of nature and the process of culture. The seamless integration between building and landscape does not engender a feeling of imbalance between what is “man-made” and what is nature; only a feeling of natural process where nature will, in the end, always take its own course. As landscape architects, the value of this landscape is enhanced by its sense of ruin, especially when we understand the special and unique cultural circumstance that gave rise to the school’s creation and ultimate abandonment. To now ignore the value of the ruin would certainly be to end the cultural and historic lesson that the National Schools of Art teach – that an interim of neglect in this case was necessary for a process of cultural renewal to begin.”

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