Presentation of Swiss Research Partnership Projects
Swiss Universities for Applied Sciences and Swisscontact
A development promotion program backed by SDC
Portulan – A perceptive project in Havana (Cuba)
Description of project
The project portulan – an applied research project of the course of study architecture at the University of Applied Sciences, Zurich (HSZ–T) in cooperation with the Instituto Superior Politécnico José A. Echeverria, La Habana (CUJAE) – examined the transitional region between the space open to the public and the private space in the Barrio Cayo Hueso in Havana. How is it structured? Who is bringing an influence to bear and what sort of? What’s the interaction between the structural design and social structure?
SI NO SABE NO TE META – an example for the space in between
The threshold, the passage between indoors and out of doors, is not only a meeting place and a place of friendship but also a focus of conflict conveying a sense of power. People engage in politics in the transitional regions between the space open to the public and the private space. There are two “parties” in the Barrio Cayo Hueso in Havana claiming a section of this threshold. The Taller de Transformación Integral del Barrio CAYO HUESO (an organization fully supported by the government operating in one of the districts) and the Santeria (representing a religious community involving Christianity and Yoruba). Both favour similar schemes – cultural animation, help among neighbours, education, etc., using different approaches, however. The Taller de Transformación Integral does classical instructional work by building and operating common rooms, a sports centre, a day nursery etc. and fights for the renovation of the living conditions, precarious in many places. The Santeria associates above all with the “soul” of the people. It shows what is to be done, raises people’s hopes and confidence and helps them with personal problems. The two cultures hardly ever meet on weekdays. The important representatives don’t know one another personally. They have some knowledge of one another but that’s all. There are never any open conflicts to deal with. Still, there are also places “fought over” like the solar de palo, a central spot for the Santeria for a long time where it was able to have its parties and rituals. A place full of crime and obscurantism for the informed people, however. A neighbourhood where people had to make a living under the most difficult conditions. In 1986 many residents were all otted new flats, partly in remote suburbs of Havana. Nowadays only twelve people still live in the solar de palo: Raiza, Elia, Armando, Belén ... The research project describes the history of the Solar and its context, allows the most important protagonists to speak and gives a description of the architecture used in the discourse.
The goals aimed at could be reached as far as they had been achieved already.
- Level Project partner: Building of an institutional cooperation CUJAE–HSZ–T; reorganization plan
(above all; process responsibility) and exchange of knowledge and experience
- Level Network: Processing of basic data empirically compiled for its further use in other projects
(SeDUT, Studio Basel, etc.)
- Level District: Strengthening of its identity by way of processes by several parties; basic structures
for new projects dealing with the development of the districts
- Level City: Taking an active part in the publication of the project results (possibly also at trade exhibitions)
Recommendation of projects
It is obvious that perceptive projects contribute greatly to the training of future architects. In addition the authorities responsible for transforming cities and the residents concerned can be sensitized for their complex scope of action and living by participation processes. It may prove recommendable to put further projects of similar scope into effect. Additional extensive information will be published shortly.
Zurich, 15th April 2007 / Prof. Marc Meyer, Dipl. Arch., University of Applied Sciences, Zurich
Contact HSZ-T: Marc Meyer – mmeyer2@hsz-t
Contact CUJAE: Gisela Diaz Quintero - firstname.lastname@example.org