4.196 | Spring 2004 | Graduate

Architecture Design, Level II: Cuba Studio


Course Introduction by Prof. Jan Wampler.

Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 4 hours / session

Designing the Architect

Throughout the semester, the work of the studio was documented in a short movie called “Designing the Architect.”

Building Communities

A Place in Havana, Cuba

The work for the semester is about the following issues:

  • how to understand and design for a different culture…
  • how to design places where living, working, and shopping can intermix…
  • how to design a village in the city…
  • how to design buildings that can intermix uses…
  • how to design in a tropical climate…

This architectural studio will have one main project for the semester: to explore the issues surrounding the redesign of an area in Havana, Cuba. It is a typical area about the size of a Law of Indies block that presently has a mix of housing, work, and shopping, in buildings that need to be replaced and others that need to be rehabilitated. There is also vacant land, and buildings that are unused. Part of the blocks front on the Malecon, the street next to the water. The other edge fronts onto a typical neighborhood. The intention is to study the culture through an understanding of one area of Havana and then design an “echo” in architectural form. The design will include public space as well as a mix of buildings: some new, some rehabilitated.

The work will start in Boston with lectures about Cuba, readings, background information about climate, site information and design attitudes about the program and form, before we go to Havana. We will then travel for a short but intense period to gather information about the culture through the understanding a small neighborhood. While in Cuba we will meet with students from the University who will also be designing this area. After coming back from Havana, designs that have attitudes about the “village in the city” will be explored.

Design will be from the scale of one unit to the scale of a building and an area. During the semester there will be feedback from architects that have worked in Cuba.

Other concerns for the semester:

  • understanding the space between buildings…
  • understanding the idea of “micro villages”…
  • understanding an attitude about architecture…

All of this will be followed by form making.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2004
Learning Resource Types
Course Introduction
Image Gallery
Video Materials