Art-deco in Cuba paved the way for the entry of the modern ideal.
Art-deco is an architectural style that emerged after the First World War and was introduced in Cuba in 1923.
Its development process on the island lasted until the 1940s and arrived in Cuba from the United States with the functional variant of the skyscraper and the influence of German rationalism represented by the figure of Mies van der Rohe and the Chicago School.
For this reason, some scholars argue that Art-deco prepared the way for the entry of the modern ideal into Cuba, and with it, those constructive styles that correspond to the ethical, aesthetic, formal and functional values of rationalism and modernity.
Characteristics of Art-deco
The formal solutions of Art-deco in Cuba were materialized from purely geometric conceptions. In this way, works appear based on the isosceles triangle and in which the use of the straight line and the vertical sense of the composition predominate.
These constructive principles cover all the plans and elements of the construction: floors, ceilings, doors, windows, lamps, furniture and the facades.
Other elements to highlight are the volumetric appearance of the construction and the use of decorative elements that are inspired by the African and the Aztec or pre-Columbian.
Art-deco and its main exponents
Art-deco in Cuba is also expressed in the design of the house and offers the same comfort and functionality, which for many scholars can be considered as the antecedent of the condominium and its maximum expression is the López Serrano building on 11th street. between L and M in Vedado.
This building already incorporates wineries, shops, butcher, hairdresser, barbershop, in short, a set of services that prepare the way for the appearance of the great buildings of modern Vedado such as the FOCSA, the Radio Centro and the so-called Retreats, among the that stands out the Medical Retreat.
Another of the jewels of Cuban Art-Deco is, without a doubt, the Bacardi building, which is located just behind the Plaza Hotel in Old Havana.
Unlike the López Serrano, which was primarily intended for housing, the Bacardí has an administrative function, which shows the multifunctionality of the architectural solutions of this style.
Art-deco was gradually eclipsing itself and by the 1950s the full expression of the modern ideal was reached.
In its final stage, works with modern elements appear that some authors call “modern monumental”, but they are nothing more than Art-deco expressions influenced by fascist architecture and Brutalism.
Among these works, the Hospital Maternidad Obrera, the building of San Lázaro y Soledad and the Grand Lodge of Cuba by A.L. and A.M. in Carlos III and Belascoaín.