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‘Havana500: Five Centuries of Evolving Urban Form and Urban Codes’: School of Architecture to highlight Cuba’s capital city

The “Havana 500: Five Centuries of Inheritance and History of Cuba” has not yet said its last word. In addition to the exhibit by professor and curator Sonia Chao, The School of Architecture will be holding a symposium on Nov 13. and 14 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Havana.

Chao and faculty members want to encourage the preservation of Havana and its urban and architectural identity as it faces a lack of maintenance she calls “worrisome.”

“That’s why this symposium and to the exhibition are important,” Chao said. “So, we can underline that wonderful and extensive, rich cultural heritage that the city of Havana has to offer.”

Chao graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Architecture and then went to Columbia University, where she obtained a Master of Science in Architecture. These last years, Chao focused her researches on sub-tropical architecture and urbanism in Haiti, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Cuba. Her book looks at the evolving and urban form and codes of Havana.

The registration and reception will start on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 5 p.m. at the Glasgow Lecture Hall. Then, the documentary, “Viva El Vedado” will follow at 6:30 p.m., that focuses on the history of the Havana neighborhood. Immediately thereafter, two producers and a SoA faculty member will hold a panel discussion.

Thursday, Nov. 14, the program will start at 9 a.m., and Chao will talk about 500 years of urban development in the capital city. Later on, faculty members will discuss architectural development that defines the city now. The event will end with a celebration at the Korach Architecture Gallery.

The School of Architecture recommends to RSVP online, but students from all disciplines and faculties on campus are welcomed to participate. The symposium will talk about not only the physical evolution of the city but also its cultural development.

If interested in more, on the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library, the “Havana500: Five Centuries of Evolving Urban Form and Urban Codes” exhibit will be on display until February 2020.

And this is not over; The Havana 500 will hold in the spring semester series of events about the same interconnected topic. The faculty members will have more in-depth conversations about specific current opportunities and challenges that are confronting the city of Havana.

For questions about the event, email U-SoA at


What: A two-day symposium on the physical evolution and cultural development of Cuba.

Professor at the School of Architecture Sonia Chao will discuss the evolution of the city, followed by different events.

When: It starts Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 5 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 14, at 9 a.m.

Where: The events will take place at the Glasgow Lecture Hall in the School of Architecture.

November 13, 2019


Joanna Ugo

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