PHOTO ESSAY | Havana, Cuba | Part 1

PHOTO ESSAY | Havana, Cuba | Part 1
Photographs by Concrete Blonde

Part 1 of a brief photographic essay of architecture and urban space in Havana, Cuba courtesy of Concrete Blonde. In terms of urbanism, the most interesting aspects of these photographs are: the street life of urban balconies, the use of balcony gardens in softening the urban streetscape, rooftop terraces, abundant use of urban sidewalk arcades, and the use of color. In terms of political ideology, it seems symbolic that many of the cars (most likely of origin in Eastern Europe) and best architecture (at least, in terms of design if not actual age) predates the Communist Revolution lead by Fidel Castro in 1959; make of that what you will. However, the result is an urban treasure trove awaiting re-discovery and historic rehabilitation.

Havana streetscape showing sidewalk arcades and second-level balconies.
Rooftop terraces in Havana, Cuba.
Heavily-vegetated balconies in Havana, Cuba.
From this perspective, notice how the line of sight sneaks pass the corner of buildings to continue along the space of the street. Architects and planners ignore such nuances of the urban pattern at their peril.
Fantastic mural incorporated into the design of an otherwise mundane Modern building.
Contemporary pedestrian plaza, probably a conversion of an old tram/rail line running down the middle of the street. Though beautifully done, notice how empty the plaza appears during the middle of the day due to the generous street width, especially in comparison to the following photo of a heavily-populated street in Havana with a narrower street width.
A typical street scene in Havana, Cuba.
Churchyard plaza in Havana, Cuba.
Urban balconies defining the facade of an early twentieth century (1930s?) building in Havana, Cuba.
Sidewalk arcades, balconies, and rooftop terraces on another street in Havana, Cuba.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Havana, Cuba Photographic Essay coming soon on The Outlaw Urbanist!

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