Many buildings in the 500 year old city of La Habana have this appearance. It is said that at some point the city was compared to New York and Paris for being vibrant and luxurious. This was one of the first cities to have a running train, Spain had its own later. Cinemas were built right after they were invented. Then the Revolution came bringing basic rights to all Cubans through socialism and with that the country was converted into a time machine, a coffer of memories where past and present share the same space.

Some old buildings fall by themselves, others have a planned demolition, on either situation the government is determined to save the facade -as shown in the picture- for a later rebuild respecting their original appearance. When resources are scarce and the government is the only powerhouse for building, projects are left on the back burner for years as the trees and bushes grow on the 3rd floor balcony illustrating this neglect.

The vision is romantic and in line with the spirit of bringing the city back to its glamorous architecture. In the meantime, reality is different. Habitants are forced to live on temporary grounds where no one has a sense of belonging. As opposed to other countries, Cubans rely heavily on the power of communities; they share skills, food, education, etc. not as an act of goodwill but rather a means to survive. Something like this is hard to create when everyone thinks they are there for a short time and a new house is around the corner.

Should the government opt for a quick, simple, low-budget building to accommodate their habitants, or is it worth the sacrifice of waiting and respecting the original architecture?

Domino game on a premium location.

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