Revolution of Forms

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  • Edition: Revised
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-06-08
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Pr
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The Escuelas Nacionales de Arte (The National Art Schools), located in the western suburbs of Havana, is the most outstanding architectural achievement of the Cuban Revolution. The five schools were conceived and initiated by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara soon after the Cuban Revolution's victory in 1959. The idea for the socialist art academy was spawned while Castro and Guevara were playing golf at a country club, and it is on that golf course that the schools were designed. These schools represent an attempt on the part of their three architects-Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti, and Roberto Gottardi-to architecture, just as the revolution hoped to reinvent society. But in a short time the art schools and their architects fell out of favor and were subjected to ideological attacks-the buildings were seen as too stylized and straying from the aesthetics aligned with Communism-that resulted in the art schools' subsequent "disappearance" and the departure of two of the three architects. Revolution of Forms: Cuba's Forgotten Art Schools was originally published by Princeton Architectural Press in 1998. The attention brought by the original publication of this book to these works of architecture-most noteworthy to Castro- prodded the Cuban government to commit to their restoration. (Until then, the organic complex of brick and terra-cotta Catalan vaulted structures was left in various stages of use, abandonment, and preservation.) Loomis and the three original architects have been involved in the restoration. The updated edition includes a new preface, epilogue, and additions to the chronology. Revolution of Forms: Cuba's Forgotten Art Schools, the updated edition, makes again available this long-out-of-print and historically significant work.

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