safeguarding cultural heritage, social and architectural wooden houses in Cuba

Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Culturel, Social et Architectural des Maisons en Bois de Cuba

Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Culturel, Social et Architectural des Maisons en Bois de Cuba

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Project house area Luyano, La Havana

Wooden house in Havana, district Luyano


Havana city of 4 million inhabitants, extends over a surface so big as Paris and its peripheral extra zone. The average tourist confines to visit the old town ( Havana Vieja), rather typical and hurries to run farther. It is to forget the life of districts and municipalities more or less taken away from the center.

Lawton is one of these districts, at the end of the avenue 10 of Octubre or the shade of inspector Mario Conde hero of Léonardo Padura, still circulates to go there guagua ' (urban bus overloaded) with his place of residence to the head office of the criminal police. Lawton, ill-assorted assembly of bourgeois houses, certain ruin it or disappeared, and others still dashing, and we wonder why. Go out of the avenue after the " loma " ( rise) of the church of Santo Suarez.

I recommend you the panorama seen by the square of this church. Of this height, the general point of view on Havana and the blow of eye on the foreground heterogeneous roofs is spread enough.

Take away of the avenue 10 of Octubre, in transversal streets, you fall on the truth Havana, world of youngs, without ranks, workers who fill this diverse and crowded public transportation to come and go in of humble try. Those whom you will never meet. Houses become more modest, hardly a floor or rez of put. Some are under construction or in repair, but lived all the same. We find also workshops, warehouses or diverse workplaces there. Often the street is broken up, and we meet ruins of construction, wooden houses there, in perpends unfinished or ageing.

I remember myself nevertheless of a last day: having indicated me my way an old woman wasn't able to refrain from concluding her explanation in front of an identical street: Que linda es La Habana! (Havana is beautifu), she who for nothing shall not leave her small wooden house.

Yes, that Havana is fascinating, in its modest life, or the vestiges of prosperous past let glimpse that she could become again.

The person in charge of the NGO CAMAHA, drove me there one evening, in some bends and searches for orientation. We succeeded in Calle N Santa of Los Angeles, in sunken of the valley between Lawton and Luyano. Curiously between the constructions in hard diverse times still rise wooden houses. They are not houses Creole as in the Antilles or Haiti, but modest houses were doubtless brought there prefabricated in wood of the United States in glorious the thirties.

Casa Luyano

86-year-old Rosita, live in a small house of this genre, nothing more and anything less of it it is necessary to live. Three series of linked rooms, the first one to stay, with hers seats of reception, Cuban statutory armchair at seesaw there, then her bedroom, and then her kitchen. In appendix a summary bathroom but with a " inodoro " ( toilet WC). The house is situated on a vaster ground, an adjacent court for her small shop: in wooden goals, the poultry farm of all kinds which are of use to her to survive, ducks, turkeys, hens, and doves.
Its are sold for the food and also for certain poultry, that in the white plumage, for the sacrifices of the ceremonies of the religion Yoruba. In a second court the vestiges of machine tools of joinery, bandsaw, surface-planer, under a lean-to shaky. Machines are kill, in Cuba to work on its account be very expensive governmental taxes there. And many lowered the arms.


This is Rosita's universe for 54 years, more or less age of the revolution. The whole survived under all the bad knocks, the cyclones, the sun burning, the winds of fasts, special period, poverty, shortages of all kinds, without bringing down however either Rosita, or the house. This is the miracle of the incredible survival of Cuba returned on a small scale.

But the building is breathless, the paper roof tarred, runs away of almost everywhere. The parts moistened by the infiltrations rot the elements of skeleton little by little. The roof and the walls hold by delight. The networks of the water supply are deficient, the electricity became dangerous, the dilapidated town gas as one pleases. The technical accident can arise without advance notice. We are in front of a summary of the story of Havana quoted Cuban people. To the set.

Small is beautiful, declared an idealist to the good weather of the questioning of the indefinite industrial growth. We shall translate into Spanish: Que maravilloso lo chiquito.
THE NGO CAMAHA wants to dash into the adventure of the punctual small-scale rehabilitation, in modest sound level and in the size of financial means. Off the beaten track and in any discretion. In this low of ground between Lawton and Luyano, or cross the small itinerant salesmen, for the daily food, the one who is sold in national currency. Or some rare cars pass carefully by avoiding holes and bumps of their acrid springs.

We have this day there spent two hours of conversation, with Rosita, the story, the everyday life, the age which hypocritically comes to hinder the "lucha" (fight), for the everyday life, far from that of slogans paints in city length but that there very real. The interview ended in the presentation of the book of fifteen years of her girl, already a child in arms. For fifteen years of a girl it is the custom to photograph her in its best attires, in her original beauty of " mulata cubana ", the Cuban woman, wonderful invention left by the Spanish conquest. This book of memory is inescapable pass for every girl. it fixes for ever the memory of the youthful beauty of every woman, before the damages of the reality of the life. In Cuba the life continues inexorably, and the generations live together in good agreement. In the sweatiness and the peace of districts.

What it remains to make, of highly-rated technical, architect's project with measured and estimation of renovation work, collection of the useful materials, and working days executed by the Cuban craftsmen, by the family, the friends, the united neighbors and the financial support of the benefactors of CAMAHA.

We are for the project there the rest will follow we do not doubt it, promise was made by CAMAHA and I witness it.

Por mi madre, no hay craneo !

Casa Luyano

VIVIENDA LUYANO

Calle Nuestra Senora de los Angeles No. 122, e/ Quiroga y Tres Palacios