World Monument Fund:
2016 Watch List
Recently the World Monument Fund announced the 50 sites chosen to be apart of the 2016 Watch List. We are extremely excited and proud to announce that both of the sites that Fundacion Amistad nominated, Vedado and the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) were both accepted for inclusion!
Vedado is a special part to the identity of Havana. From an urban development perspective, it contributed with new and useful ways of conceiving the city, capable of assimilating the most varied architectonic trends as long as they performed the requirements of the development project, requirements that would allow the neighborhood to achieve high levels of environmental coherence. The characteristics of the urban layout, it’s unlimited developmental potential, its practical sense on street naming, were all related to the then nascent introduction of the automobile, and with the necessary mobility in relation to the rest of the older parts of the city. Its historic significance is enhanced by its ties with several relevant figures of culture, politics, and social life of its first tenants, some of which, like poet and writer Dulce M.ªLoynaz, found in El Vedado a source of inspiration. The architectonic richness of the area, and the attractive parks and urban environment, made of El Vedado the most desirable neighborhood for Cubans, provoking the increase of the land value of the area. The 1950s reinforced the aforementioned assets by increasing the centrality of some sectors that had important public roles. Places like Calle Línea, the crossroads of 23rd and 12th, and La Rampa, became the heart of Havana, as a place of leisure, and constant meeting place for the most diverse social groups.
We nominated Vedado the 2016 WMF Watch List because of the difficulty Vedado is having in addressing it’s many needs including: the need fore economic development, providing a quality of life for its residents, and the conservation of its heritage values sites.
ISA is located in the west side of Havana city, capital of Cuba, in the heart of Cubanacán, the former Havana Country Club Park and Golf course. Going from Vedado in modern Havana down 5th Avenue in Miramar, you’ll reach the Havana Biltmore Yacht & Country Club, one of the most exclusive clubs located on beautiful beachfront property. Five hundred meters from this stands the original gate of the Club at 120 St. The site extension is about 66 hectares, combining green exuberance of the soft accidents with the river Quibú crossing the course, veins of tropical and original palm tree lines remarking the golf holes. Surrounding the complex hundreds of mansions built between 1914 and 1950s, different styles – eclectic, neo-colonial, modern influence architecture with gardens and swimming pools, must belonged to the club members, now used for ambassadors houses, some non-occupied in ruin state. Another landmark to visit is the Palace of Congresses built in 1976, one of the great architectural works of Antonio Quintana, which acts as an exclusive residence for government guests and is located in the heart of the lake area.
Physical degradation of the five emblematic buildings, derivative of the long period without appropriated control and lack of maintenance, obligate to count with an specific technical and technological support from the national industry of constructive materials or international restoration firms, to choose and use in the restoration works the more durable and compatible solutions.
The 2016 Watch will call international attention to the challenges facing these and other sites around the world. Inclusion on the Watch will also provide an important opportunity for FA to promote these sites locally and internationally and work towards its protection. The website for the 2016 List: https://www.wmf.org/watch/watch_year/2016