Friday18 August 2017

Foster to design Cuban ballet school

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Arts complex project led by the Royal Ballet’s Carlos Acosta

Foster and Partners has been chosen to design a new arts complex for the Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta.

Acosta, who has danced with the Royal Ballet since 1998, wants to convert the abandoned School of Ballet on the outskirts of Havana.

Foster&Partners' Cuban Dance School

Source: Nigel Young

The derelict building was meant to be used as a national arts school, set up as one of four by Fidel Castro, but was never completed.

Foster’s is working on a redevelopment of the original building, with its domed roofs designed in 1961 by Italian Vittorio Garatti.

Norman Foster told the Sunday Times: “Carlos is a great dancer who is inspiring the regeneration of an iconic ruin of early modernism outside Havana.”



Readers' comments (2)

  • This is really important! We can't permit to another architect to put his hands on the National Schools of Arts. We can't forget how important is the complex to let Foster do his own project in the School of Ballet. The original architect is Vittorio Garatti and he is alive and well, he should be the one at the helm of any design or development at this site. He is the father of his project and no one should be allowed to redevelop the original building without his approval. Please share!


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  • There was a book written in 1999 by John Loomis entitled Revolution of Forms - Cuba's Forgotten Art Schools, and subsequently a documentary film that was made in 2011 by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray called Unfinished Spaces. It is about the history of Cuba’s National Arts School, which included the national school for dance.

    An introduction to the film from the Atlantic magazine:
    In 1961 Fidel Castro and Che Guevara commissioned three young architects to build Cuba's National Arts School on the grounds of a country club in Havana. In the minds of its creators, it was to be the most modern and innovative academy of its kind. But before its completion, the ideals of the revolution changed, halting the project and sending the architects into exile. Forty years later, Castro invited them back to oversee the completion of the school they left behind—a story chronicled in Alysa Nahmias and Ben Murray’s forthcoming documentary, Unfinished Spaces. Here one of the architects, Ricardo Porro, shares an early sketch for the academy’s School of Modern Dance, his vision for the building, and the story of what went wrong.

    How anyone could know the history of this architecture, perhaps the best post revolution architecture in Cuba, and not want it completed by the original architects and designers (who are still living) is baffling, disturbing and tragic.

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