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Havana Charrette: Cuba, 9-14 March 2014

    Event Information

INTBAU Cuba and INTBAU Scandinavia in partnership with C.E.U. Norway and C.E.U. Cuba invite you to the 7th Havana Urban Design Charrette. The 2014 International Charrette will build on our work from the past six years. International architects and planners are invited to join Cuban experts and local communities for a one-week Charrette (9 – 14 March 2014) to develop proposals for the regeneration and development of the waterfront area of Centro Havana.

The Charrette will fit both educational and professional purposes and will give participants an introduction to the history of Havana’s cultural heritage through close contact with its traditions, architecture and urbanism. The Charrette seeks the participation of individuals who share a respectful attitude to new interventions in historical contexts, and who value the creation of places humans can live in, work in and enjoy.

Project Objectives

Elaborate ideas for the development of the waterfront sectors of the district of El Vedado.
Promote an integrated vision between the natural condition and the built environment.
Promote and highlight the importance of the Malecon for the new image of Havana and for social and cultural integration.
Evaluate the benefits of the transformation of the district of El Vedado for the future of Havana in economical and urban terms.

Improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the district of El Vedado, preserving its Mediterranean image and getting advantage of its privilege site.
Propose the increase of urban open space, housing and commerce in the area and its impact at city level.
Turn the current dilapidated image of several parts of  the district of El Vedado into a contemporary and joyful one.
Reshape the urban landscape of an area currently dilapidated and lacking character by increasing the green areas.
Reinforce the cultural identity of the district of El Vedado within the city of Havana.

The Charrette is designed for architects, planners, art historians, antiquarians, writers, students and anyone with an interest in the history, traditions and culture of Cuba. The full Charrette programme and a description of the El Vedado area are included at the bottom of this page.

Participants are responsible for their own travel to Cuba, accommodation and meals. We can assist with arranging accommodation for you, either in private apartments (Casa Particular) or in an international style hotel.

Our previous charrettes have brought together participants from Cuba, UK, US, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Argentina, Mexico and other countries. You can read reports on past Charrettes online on John Pilling’s website.

What is a Charrette?

A charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens, designers and others collaborate on a vision for development. It provides a forum for ideas and offers the unique advantage of giving immediate feedback to the designers. More importantly, it allows everyone who participates to be a mutual author of the plan.

Plaza Vieja, Havana

Registration & Costs

The registration fee for international participants is 300 CUC (Cuban Convertible Pesos), approx. 240 EUR, GBP £200, or USD $330. This fee goes exclusively to cover expenses during the Charrette, such as studio equipment, transportation costs for Cuban participants, and renting the venue.

A limited number of student scholarships to cover the registration fee are available. To apply, please contact Audun Engh on


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 when applying for a visa. We will provide you with this information with sufficient time if you prefer Casa Particular accomodation.

We can on request arrange Casa Particular (rooms in private houses and apartments) accommodation in the Vedado district for 50 CUC, Cuban Convertible Peso per night (approx, 55 $, 35 Euro, 30 £). This price is per room, single or double occupancy. Most of our participants at the previous charrettes chose this option, although some preferred to arrange for their own accommodation. We can make some suggestions if you prefer hotel accommodation.

Study Tour of Cuba, 2-7 March 2014

Preceding the Charrette, we will arrange a one-week tour of Cuba, visiting UNESCO World Heritage Site Havana. You are welcome to register for one of the events, or both. For a detailed programme and more information on the 13-19 March tour please go the 2014 Cuba tour page.

US Participants

We have had US participants for the previous tours and workshops. Due to the US trade embargo, US citizens will have to travel under either a general or a specific licence. 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 –
Marazul –

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

The Organisers

The Charrette is organised by INTBAU Cuba and INTBAU Scandinavia, in partnership with the Academy of Urbanism (UK) and the Cuban and Norwegian chapters of the Council for European Urbanism. We have organised similar events in several countries, including Norway, Germany, the UK, Romania and Italy. In September 2008 C.E.U. Norway organised the Third International C.E.U. Congress – Climate Change and Urban Design – in Oslo, Norway.

Professor Julio Cesar Perez is responsible for the academic and professional programme in Havana and the Cuban participation. He was the 2012-2013 Wilbur Marvin Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and the only Cuban 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 Progressive Planning, The Journal of Bio-Urbanism, the New York Times, Alinea Editrice, Arquitectura Cuba and Arquitectura y Urbanismo.

Perez Hernandez is the author of two major books on Cuban architecture and culture, Inside Cuba (2006) and Inside Havana (2011), published by Taschen. He is the founding President of the Cuban chapters of INTBAU and C.E.U. and the author of A Masterplan for 21st century Havana.

John H. Pilling

John H. Pilling, AIA has been an instructor at the Boston Architectural College since 1993. His studies, which focus on cities of Mexico and the Caribbean, have been done with the friendship of the Faculties of Architecture at CUJAE in Havana and campuses of Tec. de Monterrey (ITESM) in Guadalajara and Mexico City. He has traveled regularly to Cuba since 2001 to do research on its architecture and urban design. In addition to his academic work he practises full time in metropolitan Boston.

Audun Engh

Oslo, Norway. Education in law. Project manager for conferences, workshops and charrettes held in several countries, including the Climate Change and Urban Design conference in Oslo, 2008, and INTBAU Scandinavia workshops in Transylvania, Romania. Member of the INTBAU College of Chapters, representing INTBAU Scandinavia. Board member of CEU – Council for European Urbanism.

Participating Cuban Experts
Dr. Professor Architect Orestes del Castillo – ONG Old Havana.
Professor Architect and Urban Planner Julio Cesar Perez, UNEAC, CEU, INTBAU.
Professor Architect and Urban Planner Esteban Martinez, Member of UNEAC.
Architect Juan Carlos Toledo, Office of the Historian of the City of Havana.
Architect Joel Estevez, EPROYIV Havana.
Architect Alexis de la Cruz,

Cuban Supporting Organizations
Office of the Historian of the City of Havana
UNEAC (National Union of Artists and Writers of Cuba)
UNAICC (National Union of Architects and Engineers of Cuba)
National Physical Planning Institute
Faculty of Architecture of Havana / CUJAE
Fundacion El Hombre y la Naturaleza
Instituto Nacional de Geofisica y Astronomia

Further Information and Registration

Julio Cesar Perez

Audun Engh
INTBAU Scandinavia
St Olavs Gate 9
N-0165 Oslo
Tel: +47-92-62-26-26

Havana Harbour Charrette Programme March 21st – 26th, 2011

Day 1 SUNDAY, 9 March Evening

Welcome and Introduction by Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler; Director of the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana (to be confirmed), Prof. Julio Cesar Perez; Cuban and Norwegian Chapters of INTBAU, Audun Engh; Council for European Urbanism. Followed by a buffet and drinks reception. Hotel Condes de Villanueva. Mercaderes Street, at corner of Obrapía; 5.30 pm

Day 2 MONDAY, 10 March

Morning 10 am

Work Session – Tour of El Vedado (Charrette site). Introduction of the city, its history and evolution by Professor Julio Cesar Perez.

Lunch on your own or at the venue.

2.30- 5.30 pm Studio work. Lectures and presentations. Work in teams.
Venue Hotel Condes de Villanueva, Mercaderes Street, corner of Obrapía.

Day 3 TUESDAY, 11 March

Morning 9.30 am

Work session – Discussion and organization for presenting preliminary ideas.

1.30- 2.30 pm Lunch. Afternoon session. 2.30- 5.30 pm Studio work at the venue.

Day 4 WEDNESDAY, 12 March

Morning. 9.30 am. Public meeting and pin ups of the first ideas. Led by Prof. Arch. J. C. Perez.

Studio work – Team work according to training and affinity

1.30- 2.30 pm Lunch

Afternoon session

2.30- 5.30 pm Studio work

Day 5 THURSDAY, 13 March

Morning. 9.30 am

Studio work.

1.30- 2.30 pm Lunch

Afternoon session

2.30- 5.30 p.m Studio work

5.30 pm Public presentation and Discussion of First Proposals

Day 6 FRIDAY, 14 March.

Morning. 10.00 am

Public Presentation of Final Proposals for Centro Havana

Conclusions and announcement of follow up.

Evening: Cuban Party (to be paid individually).

For more information on the charrette location, El Vedado, please click here.