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Havana Study Tour: 26 February – 3 March 2012

December 19, 2011

Restored buildlings on Plaza Vieja, Old Havana.

INTBAU Cuba and INTBAU Scandinavia, in partnership with C.E.U. – Council for  European Urbanism, invite you to join a one week tour of Havana.

The tour will run from 26 February to 3 March 2012 and will give an introduction to the history of the urbanism and architecture of Havana.


– ‘INTBAU’s 2010 Cuba tour was easily one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever participated in for a number of reasons. Audun Engh, the tour coordinator, is excellent, and is highly knowledgeable about Cuba. Julio Cesar Perez, the Cuban tour guide, a planner and scholar by trade, has connections and knowledge no foreigner (and very few Cubans) would have, and is delightful and inspiring. He got us in to see things no ordinary tour would have reached. Simply put, this isn’t a tour for tourists; this is a tour for people who want a deeper understanding of the architecture and urbanism of Cuba.’

— Steve Mouzon, INTBAU USA Board Member, author of The Original Green


Our expert guide will be Professor Julio Cesar Perez, who has been a speaker at several INTBAU and C.E.U. conferences, and at the 2010 Congress for the New Urbanism in Atlanta. A Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design 2001-2002 and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Architecture in Havana, Perez has lectured widely in the US, Europe, Canada and Bermuda about Cuban architecture. He is the author of a major book about Cuba entitled “Inside Cuba”, and also of a Masterplan for a 21st century Havana, comprising a comprehensive urban plan aimed at the preservation of heritage values and the creation of new urban and economic qualities.

The tour will be suitable for architects, planners, art historians, antiquarians, writers, students and anyone with an interest in the history of Cuban architecture, urbanism andculture, and anyone wanting to discover better ways to make cities for people.

A full outline of the tour programme is available at the bottom of this page.



To register, please contact Audun Engh, INTBAU Scandinavia, on audun.engh@gmail.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The cost of the tour programme is as follows:

Before 31 December 2011:

Single room accommodation: 840 USD, 650 Euro, 550 GBP

Twin share accommodation:  750 USD, 580 Euro, 490 GBP

After 5 January 2012:

Single room accommodation: 900 US $, 700 Euro, 590 GBP £ including one week accommoation, all guiding, bus transportation for tours. Meals not included.

Twin share accommodation: 840 USD, 650 Euro, 550 GBP.

A few places will be available for students at a reduced rate.

We can also arrange accommodation for additional nights in Havana if you arrive early or would like to stay longer. Please contact Audun Engh for details.

The registration fee includes:
·  7 nights accommodation in hotel or Casa Particular (rooms for rent in private apartments);
·  bus and walking tours of Havana,
·  expert guiding by Prof. Julio Cesar Perez;
·  additional guiding by Audun Engh

The registration fee does not include:
·  international travel to Havana;
·  meals.
–  museum tickets

Hotel Nacional, and old American car.


Travel to Cuba

Participants are asked to arrange their own travel to Havana. Airlines with connections from Europe include Air France, British Airways, Iberia, and Virgin Atlantic (from London). There are also flights to Havana from the US (Miami, New York), Canada, Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Some ATMs can be found, but they are rare compared to other countries. No cards issued by US banks will work in Cuba. It is recommended to bring cash for the trip. Euros, UK Pounds and Dollars are accepted in any currency exchange shop. US Dollars will be subject to a 10% tax when exchanged.



You will need a visa to visit Cuba. Please contact your local Cuban embassy. A tourist visa will be the simplest to obtain. New regulations require you to submit the name of the hotel or the address and registration number of the Casa Particular. We will provide you with this information.



Hotel, or ‘Casa Particular’ (rooms for rent in private houses and apartments) is a uniquely Cuban form of accommodation. Most of the rooms are in apartment buildings from the 1950s, and all are located in the El Vedado area of Havana, just a few blocks from the famous Hotel Nacional. The living and dining rooms are shared with the Cuban family. If you wish, the family will provide you with breakfast and other meals (against a surcharge). All guests will have single rooms unless otherwise agreed. Some bathrooms might be shared with other guests. The buildings are just five minutes away from the Malecón waterfront.
Please contact us if you would prefer hotel accommodation (additional cost).

We can recommend Hotel Nacional: http://www.hotelnacionaldecuba.com/en/home.asp


US Participants

We have had US participants for all the previous tours and workshops. Due to the US trade embargo, US citizens will have to travel under either a general or a specific license. For further information, please go to the website of the United States Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control.

You may email us or contact one of the travel agencies listed below for additional information on licences.

·  Common Ground Education & Travel Services – www.commongroundtravel.com
·  Marazul – www.marazul.com

You may also contact the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York on ccr@igc.apc.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for free legal advice on travel regulations.

A previous US participant (Michael Mehaffy) wrote:


— “Have a look at this document, and refer to the bottom of page 10.




You will need to make your own specific determination, but in my case I went under a “general license,” no pre-application required, under the provisions of an international professional meeting in my professional area.  I brought with me: a letter of invitation from the Scandinavian organizers; a print of this OFAC document with relevant sections highlighted; my CV; and my itinerary, making it clear this was a professional and international event. I had no problems whatsoever, and I am not aware that anyone else from these events has either.

The intent of the license is to avoid penalizing American professionals who might otherwise benefit from an international professional event in Cuba”.

Havana Urban Design Charrette

The week before, February 19-25, we will also arrange an urban design charrette in Havana.

You are welcome to join one of the events, or both. For more information on the charrette, please go to the Havana 2012 Charrette website:  http://doityourself.no/intbau/?p=327


The Organisers

The tour is organised by INTBAU Cuba and INTBAU Scandinavia, in partnership with the Cuban and Norwegian chapters of the Council for European Urbanism. We have organised similar events in Norway, Germany, the UK, Romania and Italy.

Prof. Julio César Pérez Hernández will be the expert guide. He was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design 2001-2002 and adjunct professor at the School of Architecture in Havana (1998-2006), and has lectured widely in the US, Canada and Europe about Cuban architecture. He is a member of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba and the recipient of several international and national awards. His writings have been published in the New York Times, Arquitectura Cuba and Arquitectura y Urbanismo.

Pérez Hernández is the author of a major  book on Cuban architecture and culture, Inside Cuba, published by Taschen. He is the president of the Cuban chapters of INTBAU and C.E.U. and the author of A Masterplan for 21st century Havana.

INTBAU Scandinavia will be represented by Audun Engh, INTBAU Scandinavia Secretary, and also a member of the INTBAU College of Chapters.


Further information

·  Havana described by Wikipedia


The Malecon waterfront, Centro Havana



February 26 – March 3, 2012



Organized by INTBAU Scandinavia and INTBAU Cuba.


The Tour will provide an introduction to the history of Urbanism and Architecture of Havana, listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

Our expert guide will be Prof. Julio Cesar Perez, who has been a speaker at several INTBAU and C.E.U. international conferences across Europe. A Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design 2001-2002 and Adjunct Professor at the School of Architecture in Havana from 1998 to 2006, he  has lectured widely in the US, Europe, Canada, and Bermuda about Cuban architecture. He is also the author of the major book “INSIDE CUBA”, published by Taschen in 2006 and of “Inside Havana” also published by Taschen in October 2011. He’s the author of “A Master Plan for 21st Century Havana” registered at the Library of Congress in Washington DC for copyright and also of many articles edited by professional journals.

Julio Cesar Perez leads and organizes the International Havana Charrette on Urban Planning and Urban Design every Spring -since 2007- and he is currently writing the book “The Magic Landscapes and Urban Design of Havana” a comprehensive essay about Havana’s urban history and evolution. He has led numerous tours for international institutions and VIP along many years that include Harvard Alumni Association, The National Trust for Historical Preservation, The NYC Museum of Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, The Cigar Club of Luxembourg, Vassar College, USC, The Fogg Museum Fellows, the Newark Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, The US Association of Museum Directors, Princeton University Art Museum, Exeter Museum, The Norwegian Ministry of Culture, and UCLA and Dartmouth College Alumni.


Who is it for:

Architects, planners, art historians, antiquarians, writers, students and others with an interest in the history of Cuban architecture, urbanism and culture.


DAY 0 – Saturday February 25 (or Friday 24 February) Afternoon arrival in Havana. Accommodation. Audun Engh will meet participants when they arrive, Friday or Saturday, and organize meals.

Suggested dinner the first evening: Hotel Nacional, El Vedado district.


DAY 1. Sunday, February 26. Morning Walking tour 9.30 am- 12.30 pm led by Prof. Julio César Pérez.

Visit the 4 oldest squares of Old Havana and the most representative colonial buildings:

Plaza de Armas, XVI century with Royal Force Castle by Sánchez and Calona (1558- 1577), the Palacio del Segundo Cabo or Royal Post Office (1770- 1791), the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales (1776- 1791) by Antonio Fernández Trevejos and Pedro de Medina; the beautiful Santa Isabel hotel- where US President James Carter stayed when he visited Cuba in 2002- the former residence of Count of Santovenia from 1784 and El Templete from 1828 by Antonio M. de la Torre.

Plaza de San Francisco de Asís from 1628 with the baroque Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi from 1735 and the 1908 Stock Exchange of Havana by Tomás Mur built by the famous US company Purdy & Henderson in a record time of only 16 months; the Custom House of Havana by US firm Barclay, Parsons and Klapp from 1914.

Plaza Vieja where the restoration process is best explained with a stop at a special corner restaurant which is the museum of beer in Havana. Visit the 1735 Casa de Condes de Jaruco with the most beautiful stained glass windows in Havana and walls with the original friezes and a wonderful central inner courtyard.

Plaza de la Catedral. Visit the Casa de Condes de Bayona from 1725- currently the Museum of Colonial Art of Cuba- and the Casa del Marqués de Arcos, Casa del Conde de Lombillo and Casa del Marqués de Aguas Claras, all from XVIII Century and the Cathedral, the greatest example of Cuban Baroque from 1777.

Lunch: 1.00- 2.30 pm at Café del Oriente at Plaza San Francisco de Asís.

Afternoon 3.00 – 5.00 pm: Visit led by Audun Engh to the Museum of the City of Havana (Museo de la Ciudad), located in the Governors’ Palace (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales). It houses exhibitions of art and historical artefacts and many of the rooms are preserved with their original Colonial decoration.



DAY 2. Monday, February 27. Morning Walking tour 9.30 am- 12.30 pm led by Audun Engh: The back streets of Old Havana,  visit to the Havana Club Rhum Museum, the Malecon waterfront

Lunch: 1.00- 2.30 pm

Afternoon 2.30 – 5.00 pm: Havana on your own, or tour organized by Audun Engh, to

The Museum of the Revolution, in the former presidential Palace.


DAY 3 Tuesday, February 28. Morning free, or optional tour organized by Audun Engh to The National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana) in Havana, Cuba is a museum of Fine Arts that exhibits Cuban art collections from the colonial times up to contemporary generations..


Lunch: 1.00- 2.30 pm


Afternoon:  Walking tour 2.00 am- 4.30 pm led by Prof. Julio César Pérez. The Walls District (XIX century/ early XX century)


Visit The Parque Central of Havana where the 1879 England hotel is, the Neo- Moorish 1908 Seville Hotel, the 1914 Casino Español, the 1915 Great Theater of Havana by Belgian architect Paul Belau who also designed the former Presidential Palace in 1920- currently the Museum of the Revolution; the 1925 Centro Asturiano designed by Spanish Architect Manuel del Busto- currently the Fine Arts Museum.

Walk along the world wide famous1929 promenade El Paseo del Prado, inspired in the elevated plaza concept and considered one of the best open spaces in the world by French Landscape designer J.C. N. Forestier who also designed the nearby Park of Fraternity and Avenida del Puerto (Harbor Avenue) and also the 1929 Capitolio gardens.

Visit the former home of President José Miguel Gómez from 1915 designed by Cuban architect Hilario del Castillo. Visit the former Bacardi Headquarters Building from 1930 (the Jewel of Art Déco in Cuba).

Evening suggestions: Live Jazz Music at “La Zorra y El Cuervo” Night club in La Rampa, El Vedado. Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor on the hottest place in town where youngsters hang out. Watching the old traditional ceremony of the 9.00 o’ clock canyon shooting at the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña across the bay. El Gato Tuerto bar.


DAY 4. Wednesday, February 29. Morning Bus & Walking tour 9.30 am- 12.30 pm led by Prof. Julio César Pérez.

The Garden City of El Vedado- planned in 1859-60 but not developed until early in the XX century- according to modern planning principles that introduced the green in the city for the first time is still considered the most important urban initiative since Colonial times. Laid out by Spanish Engineer Luis Yboleon it’s considered the birth of modern planning in Cuba as it introduced the green in the city for the first time and afforded to provide a very effective model for separating both the private and the public realm. El Vedado, a perfect grid rotated 45 degrees to the North to better catch the prevailing breezes and avoiding the sun contains two minor grids within its fabric: a small one for the University of Havana campus(1905-1940)and another one where the Christopher Columbus Necropolis sits since 1871, which was laid out according Medieval trends based on the five wounds of Jesus Christ, meaning two main axes that further subdivide the land into four crosses and four quadrants.

Visit the 1906- 40 Universtity of Havana Campus, and walk along La Rampa district, the very heart of modern Havana where the famous 1966 Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor is and also where the1950s hotels -such as the former Havana Hilton Hotel designed by California architectural firm Welton Becket & Associates in 1958; Art Déco and Streamile Modern style apartments influenced by South Beach in Miami, and modern cinemas like the 1947 Radiocentro building designed by Junco, Gaston and Dominguez, night clubs,  restaurants and shops are. Admire Havana’s tall office buildings such as the Award winning 1953 Odontological Building and the 1958 Ministry of Public Health both designed by late Cuban architect Antonio Quintana Simonetti. See the 1956 FOCSA building designed by Ernesto Gomez Sampera and Martin Dominguez. Visit the iconic Riviera Hotel on the waterfront, a 1957 building financed by mobster Meyer Lanski whose first designed was commissioned to NY architect Philip Johnson. Hear the story of the meeting of the architects with the developers in Havana (like a black and white film with Johnson wearing an impeccable black suit and the mobster wearing white linen suits and Panama hats). Drive along the tree-lined Paseo Street to the appealing and unique 1926 Casa de la Amistad, former Baro-Lasa mansion, designed by Cuban firm Govantes and Cabarrocas with Art Déco interiors and exquisite glass works by French designer René Lalique, the first Arte Deco piece in Cuba and Lalique’s only design in Latin America. Listen to the wonderful and passionate love story of Catalina Lasa and Juan Pedro Baro, a loan shark and a beauty contest winner lady, narrated by architect Julio Cesar Perez as it appears in his two books Inside Cuba (Taschen 2006) and Inside Havana (Taschen 2011).

Drive along Paseo Street to the so called Plaza de la Revolucion, former Civic Square, an unfinished project from 1958 where a white marble monument to our National hero Jose Marti outstands with other landmarks such as the 1953 former Office of the Comptroller that shows the big metal sculpture of Che Guevara, the 1957 National Library designed by Cuban firm Govantes and Cabarrocas, the 1958 National Theater by Arroyo and Menendez, and other significant buildings. Visit the 1930 National Hotel designed by US architects McKim, Mead & White designated best hotel all over the world in 2006 and have a look at the Florida straits while having a drink at the hotel gardens.

Afternoon 1.00 pm – 6.00 pm: Afternoon on your own, or tour organized by Audun Engh to one of the beaches close to Havana.


Several beautiful Havana beaches named Playas del Este are located at 20 km east of Havana.
The best beaches are at Santa Maria del Mar,  this is the most tourist-oriented and the busiest of the Havana beaches.


DAY 5. Thursday, March 1. Morning Bus tour of West Havana.9.30 am- 12.30 pm.

The US Influence in both Havana’s urbanism and architecture. Modern and International Style architecture. The suburbs, the new hotels.

Visit the Miramar District (planned in 1911 by Cuban architect Leonardo Morales, a Columbia University graduate) and the big color -coded model of the city. Learn about the negative impact in Havana’s urban fabric of the Miramar Trade Center office park and the new hotels area where the 1980 Soviet Embassy- tallest building in Miramar- overwhelms the district with its imposing presence. From the bus, see the Bauhaus like 1949 house of Max Borges Jr. and Art Déco apartment buildings and former private clubs. From the bus see the westernmost suburbs inspired by the City Beautiful Movement (Frederick Law Olmstead’s influence) with isolated villas in ample lots with huge gardens and eclectic and modern houses.

See the campus for the famous Schools of Art of Havana that were built (1961 -1965) in the exclusive area of the former Golf Course of the Country Club of Havana, now Cubanacán area where Eclectic and International styles mansions fit within ample gardens. Visit the impressive and appealing 1953 Nautical Club designed by Max Borges Jr., the designer of the famous open air Cabaret Tropicana whose thin concrete shells weave within the lush vegetation of the site.

Lunch suggestion: 1.30- 2.30 pm Paladar VistaMar, a 1950s architect’s home by the sea, in the very exclusive district of Miramar.

Afternoon 2.30- 5.00 pm.

On the way back, drive along the tree- lined avenues of Paseo and G Street (Avenue of the Presidents) and visit the 1957 Riviera Hotel originally designed by Philip Johnson and formerly owned by mobster Meyer Lansky.

Dinner suggestion: Dinner at Paladar La Cocina de Lilian in Playa district.

Evening suggestion:
Optional drinks at the Hotel Nacional gardens and terraces.

Late evening suggestions:
Discotech at the Havana Café of the Melia Cohiba Hotel or Nightclub at the Riviera Hotel or Jazz café at Galerias Paseo.


DAY 6. Friday, March 2. Day on your own. Alternatively visit to one of the museums of Havana, or cigar factory, or the Playas de Este beaches, organized by Audun Engh


DAY 7. Saturday March 3: Morning on your own. Afternoon departure from Havana airport.


DAY 8 (optional): If you extend your stay until Sunday March 4, Audun Engh will organize  additional tours March 3 and 4, as agreed with the participants. Afternoon departure from Havana airport.



Audun Engh
INTBAU Scandinavia
St Olavs Gate 9
N-0165 Oslo
Tel: +47-92-62-26-26
Email: audun.engh@gmail.com


Julio Cesar Perez
Email: jcesar@cubarte.cult.cu This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view itAudun Engh