Diploma 2018: "DECAY AND VITALITY. Rediscovering "the most outstanding architectural achievement of the Cuban Revolution" through transforming the landscape within it" by Jorge Mañas Álvarez

Tutors: Anders Rubing (APP), Trudi Jaeger (DAV), Harald Røstvik (Sustainability), Anne Sofie H. Bjelland (TTA)

On 1961, in a burst of utopian optimism after the Revolution’s victory in Cuba, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara dreamed about a complex of art schools for the workers’ children on the former Country Club golf course in Havana: the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte (National Art Schools) an amazing architectural complex built by the very same regime who later abandoned it and let it decay.

Some of the buildings have since turned into fascinating ruins. Is it a necessary to finish -or restore- these buildings today? Is it possible to accept, enhance and enjoy its existing condition?

This projects aims to discuss a new future for the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte. Instead of becoming a new voice in the on-going discussion about the (mostly technical) restoration of the buildings, I have chosen to focus on the landscape within the schools and how its transformation affects the vitality of the whole context.

A system of ponds along the river is proposed in order to attenuate the effects of floods, while generating new shaded spaces which add up to the fantastic natural landscape.

Four objects are placed around the School of Ballet -the most exposed of the five schools- protecting it and creating a new way to experience the ruined architecture.


Overview of the diploma exhibition.


‘The project concept.’


‘Detailed research and analysis of site problematics.’


 ‘Section of the new proposed landscape.’


‘Four objects in dialogue with the School of Ballet.’


 ‘References, original sketches and concept models of the four objects.’


Envisioning a future for the School of Ballet as an excavated architecture in a jardin en mouvement.’