Architecture and Design.


Foto: Enrique de la Uz

2016 marks the 45th anniversary of my dedication to teaching. This dedication has been parallel to my practice as an Architect and Designer. Up to 1992 this took place in my country of birth, Cuba.

Things there were not easy under the hardships of the revolutionary regime. But from these difficulties I learned valuable lessons. The importance of a clearly stated goal. How to spread enthusiasm within our team. And how to find the necessary workarounds to outsmart the omnipresent bureaucracy, too intent on preventing the uncommon.

Being active as an Architect and a Teacher at the same time made it possible: both testing classroom theories in real practice and proposing tasks related to my ongoing projects in class, an enrichening experience for all of us. Some of the school buildings I designed and built during the Seventies have gained widespread recognition.

Some of the school buildings that I designed and built during the seventies have won wide recognition, especially the Camagüey province's Vocational School, one of the 186 Cuban buildings of the Modern Movement that in 2010 were included in the Cuban Registry of National and Local Monuments of Cuba. Among other works worth mentioning is a monument to José Martí, Cuba's national hero that was erected in Rome in 1988.

An expatriate in Spain since 1992, I occupied an academic position in the Graphic Expression Techniques Department of the University of Cantabria. Here I engaged research about Computational Geometry applied to the design of space structures, this being the subject of my Ph. D. dissertation in 2003. Among my publications during this period is a book on Computer Aided Design programming published by McGraw-Hill.

Some bibliographic references to my work:
 2011 Eduardo Luis Rodriguez, ed. La Arquitectura del Movimiento Moderno. Selección de Obras del Registro Nacional. Ediciones Unión, Colección Arquitectura y Ciudad, La Habana, pages 206, 220, 221.
 2009 H. Duverger, ed. Guía de arquitectura y paisaje de Camagüey y Ciego de Ávila (Cuba). Consejería de Vivienda y Ordenación del Territorio/Cooperación Internacional. Junta de Andalucía, page 155.
 2005 Roberto Segre. Tres décadas de reflexiones sobre el hábitat latinoamericano. U. Nacional de Colombia, pages 1986, 2042, 2044, 2053.
 2004 Jean-Paul Midant, ed. Diccionario Akal de la arquitectura del siglo XX. Ediciones AKAL, page 226.
 1998 Leslie Bethell. A cultural history of Latin America: literature, music, and the visual arts in the 19th and 20th centuries. Cambridge University Press, page 376.
 1985 Damián Bayón, Aracy A. Amaral. Arte moderno en América Latina. Taurus, page 40.
  Roberto Segre, Rafael López Rangel.  Architettura e territorio nell’America latina. Electa, pages 290-291.

40th Anniversary, Camagüey Vocational School.

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 3 sept. 2016 9:40 por Reinaldo Togores Fernández

Versión Española.

This year marks the "Maximo Gomez" Vocational School's 40th Anniversary. Built  in the city of Camaguey, Cuba, this was one of the most outstanding among the schools built in Cuba during the 1970s.

It is a boarding school for 2500 students which includes basic secondary education and senior high school. The students are selected among the best records of primary education in the province. At its inauguration in September 1976 the then president -Fidel Castro- proclaimed it "the best school in Cuba". This is one of the 186 Cuban buildings of the Modern Movement that in 2010 were included in the Registry of National and Local Monuments.

Commemorating this anniversary I have prepared the following texts, dedicated to all those who have participated, in one way or another: the builders, the students, the teachers ...

40th Anniversary, Camagüey Vocational School.

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 3 sept. 2016 9:30 por Reinaldo Togores Fernández

1963: The "Enrique José Varona" Library, Marianao.

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 31 ago. 2015 16:47 por Reinaldo Togores Fernández   [ actualizado el 21 mar. 2016 10:05 ]

Still being a student of architecture, I took part in 1963 -together with my classmate Arnaldo Sicilia- in the design of the Marianao Municipal Library.

I reproduce here the posts that a young Cuban architect who writes under the pseudonym of Arq. Cheo Malanga devoted to this work in his blog.

May this serve as a tribute to the memory of our dear friend Sicilia, who passed away some years ago.



1976: The "Maximo Gomez" Vocational School.

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 31 ago. 2015 16:28 por Reinaldo Togores Fernández   [ actualizado el 9 sept. 2016 10:43 ]

This was one of the most remarkable works from the Cuban school building plan during the 1970s. It is a boarding school for 2500 students which includes basic secondary education and senior high school. The students are selected among the best records of primary education in the province. At its inauguration in September 1976 the then president -Fidel Castro- proclaimed it "the best school in Cuba". This is one of the 186 Cuban buildings of the Modern Movement that in 2010 were included in the Registry of National and Local Monuments.


Photo Gallery:

1991: Reflections on Architecture.

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 14 mar. 2011 10:12 por Reinaldo Togores Fernández   [ actualizado el 15 mar. 2016 11:05 ]

 
This paper was read on April 26, 1991 within the cycle of lectures held to celebrate the creation of the Plastic Artists Association's Environmental Design Section of the Cuban National Union of Writers and Artists (UNEAC).
It is important to set this paper in its temporal context. Our action as an architect and designer was always characterized by the rejection of what Joaquín Rallo defined as the 'pragmatic, positivist, technocratic, pseudo-racionalist trend, without any further conceptual base or aesthetic intentionality' that since the early sixties dominated the Cuban construction industry.
It rested on those heavy prefabrication technologies from the Khruschev era financed by the USSR. But by 1991 the end of all that was in sight. The trade agreements signed by the end of 1990 put an end to the the inflated price the Soviets paid for Cuban sugar. And the 26th of December 1991, exactly eight months after this paper was read, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics officially ceased to exist. That then foreseeable future led us to conclude stating that:
Economy may force us to solutions far apart from the drama of environment transforming 'high-techs'. Especially today, when we wake up to the harsh reality understanding that it is not possible to continue with the waste of resources they entail. It is about the steel, cement, fuel, equipment and spare parts that, or we can no longer continue importing or that we could use more profitably in other endeavors. Turning away from the old and discredited myths it becomes necessary to rediscover our only constantly renewed resource: our men and women's will to work. Will which shall find its way in an alternative solution. The one imposed as a significant cultural phenomenon notwithstanding the use of the same materials, suffering the same shortages and counter to one and the same bureaucratic hierarchy always eager to prevent the uncommon.
Dibujo de Rafael Fornés                    

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