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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House of the station Cristina - Project Print E-mail

Calle Ferrer No.22 entre Calzada de Cristina y Linea del Ferrocarril, Havana Vieja


The origin of the construction dates principles of the XXth century and it's associated with the railroad development in the country, specifically to the western railroad compagny, which united the city of Havana with the Pine of Rio and which was inaugurated in 1861 having for main station that of Cristina*.

We consider that the work ended in 1903 and was a member of a repair and modernization's project of the old station of XIXth century which included the construction of the railing of the perimeter,a building intented to serve as delivery and as coal yard, as well thr localisation of the news quarries and the enlargement of rhe workshop of machines.

Originally, the building was designed as center of operation to the Station, there, lived the Leader of the Station, the operator of movement and the employee 428, asked to send the marching orders. Its neighboring localisation to the lines of the railroad allowed him an absolved visibility towards the movement of trains. It worked in this way until decade 70, when we decided to move this function in others more moderns installations.

It remained to close in the period during several years, until iy's used as place of meeting and siege of the syndicate of the workers of the compagny of locomotives of Cuba.

In 2000, this compagny decided to grants the building to one of its employees, mister Daniel Brunet Hastings, who lives there with his wife and his children. At present, Brunet works as stagehand of the Train No.1 of the road Havana-Santiago, and as a lot of inhabitants of this zone, he has a very close story in the railroad. A son of railroad worker, since it was child, he visited the installations of the station Cristina as well as the house an owner of which he is today.

The construction is a unique event, inside the architectonic set is in compliance with the heritage of Old Havana. It's completely built wooden on two levels, with a square and compact floor, a leaned frontal portico and a cover in two waters. Althought it's a small dimension, the elements which compose it are ornamental, it possesses a very clean design, of an esthetic level and a remarkable realization. This house is in a corner, the plot of land is bounded by the line of the railroad that is a width 6.70 meters and 8.95 meters in length bounded by the street Ferrer. The house occupies a rough surface of 30m▓ and an inside consisted at the ground floor by a main bedroom which serves as dining room and one of a small leaned block which contains the bathroom and the kitchen. Since this place, we reach the floor where the big bedroom is of approximately 12 m▓, it's used by the four members of the familly.

The structure was built from columns or forks which support the massive wooden traditions on which base the floor and the roof, set they form a system of girden and a floor. For the cover, we originally used the zinc tile, on which the others tiles of fibers od cement took place recently to waterproof. The roofs of the portal and the wet block are also solved by system of girder, floor ans cover of tiles.

Closures or walls conform from beams about 25 cm un width, arranged in the vertical direction with mouldings in angles. Beams are fixed to a parallel structure and amounts remain to expose inward.

Current state

The house is maked by the aftereffects caused by the passage of time, the lack of attention and systematic maintenance. Enter transformation main clauses as the disappearance of the original wooden staircase, the balcony of the floor, the wooden railing which bounded the property. In past, some interventions were realized as the masonry of the wall in the zone of the bathroom and the kitchen. the side windows of the floor were replaced by the current windows of type Miami, whoever good they are also wooden correspond not at all to the initial conception. The rest of the original skeleton presents a big level of deterioration. In the same way, arrived the loss of some components of the decoration of the facade, as well as one of the forks of the portal.

In spite of the dererioration, we can assert that the house always preserves its configuration and its original image. In this case, the biggest attacks which the house has sudden arrived in its immediate environment, affecting largely its visibility, its confidentiality, and its concept of construction.

The construction of a house, in its moment inconvenient, in an area of the plot of land of the street Ferrer resulted a negative impact in the environment. it joined the localisation of other borderind, constructed houses of spontaneous shape and consequently with poor resources and invoices.

Finally, owner realized some interventions to guarantee their safety and to improve the living conditions, between these we find the enclosure bouding the perimeter, walls, installations to put down some water there, a breeding of animals or for other uses. In every cases these aren't very happy from the esthetic point of view and don't environmental in reason that they were executed with the available resources which are very limited.

* First sections of the western railroad were drawn and executed under the direction of the French engineer Julio Sagebien, the most famous figure in the development and the construction of the railroad in Cuba.


The construction possesses a historic importance because it establishes one of the civil works older built during the period of the blooming of the Cuban railroad.

The typology of the architecture and the peculiarity of the conception distinguish them from the inside of the historic center and contribuate to enrich the heritage of wooden construction of the country.

It would be necessary to realize diagnostic one technical and detailed as well as a specialized ans respectful project of rehabilitation of patrimonial values.

the proposal of intervention will have to consider actions of qualification and an environmental purification of the immediate environment.