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Havana Study Tour: Cuba, 10-15 March 2015

INTBAU Cuba and INTBAU Scandinavia are delighted to announce the Program for the 6-day INTBAU Study Tour of Havana, which will take place from 10-15 March 2015.

The tour will be followed by the International Havana Urban Design Charrette, from 15-21 March 2015. You are welcome to join one or both of the events.

For more information about the charrette, please visit the charrette website:

Please contact the organizers (see contact details below and biographies at the bottom of the page) for early registration.
Julio Caesar Perez
Audun Engh

An Introduction to the Magic and Poetry of Havana

The tour will provide an introduction to the history of Havana’s urbanism and architecture, essential to the city’s listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Architects, planners, art historians, antiquarians, writers, students and others with an interest in the history of Cuban architecture, urbanism and culture.

– ‘INTBAU’s 2010 Cuba tour was easily one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever participated in for a number of reasons. Audun Engh, the tour coordinator, is excellent, and is highly knowledgeable about Cuba. Julio Cesar Perez, the Cuban tour guide, a planner and scholar by trade, has connections and knowledge no foreigner (and very few Cubans) would have, and is delightful and inspiring. He got us in to see things no ordinary tour would have reached. Simply put, this isn’t a tour for tourists; this is a tour for people who want a deeper understanding of the architecture and urbanism of Cuba.’

– Steve Mouzon, INTBAU USA Board Member, author of The Original Green

Please note that this programme is subject to change.

Day 0 Arrival in Havana.Accommodation.

Day 1. March 10th, 2015. 9.45 am-12.45 pm

Morning Walking Tour of Old Havana led by Professor Julio César Pérez-Hernandez.

Visit the 4 oldest squares and learn about the most representative buildings around them.

Plaza de Armas, 16th Century with the Royal Force Castle by Sánchez and Calona (1558- 1577), the Palacio del Segundo Cabo or Royal Post Office (1770- 1791), the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales (1776- 1791) by Antonio Fernández Trevejos and Pedro de Medina; the beautiful Santa Isabel hotel- where US President James Carter stayed when he visited Cuba in 2002- the former residence of Count of Santovenia from 1784 and the Neoclassical style El Templete from 1828 by Antonio M. de la Torre.

Plaza de San Francisco de Asís from 1628 with the baroque Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi from 1735 and the 1908 Stock Exchange of Havana by Tomás Mur; the Custom House of Havana by US firm Barclay, Parsons and Klapp from 1914.
Plaza Vieja where the restoration process is best explained with a stop at a special corner restaurant which is the museum of beer in Havana. Visit the 1735 Casa de Condes de Jaruco with the most beautiful stained glass windows in Havana and walls with the original friezes and a wonderful central inner courtyard.

Plaza de la Catedral. Visit the Casa de Condes de Bayona from 1725- currently the Museum of Colonial Art of Cuba- and the Casa del Marqués de Arcos, Casa del Conde de Lombillo and Casa del Marqués de Aguas Claras, all from XVIII Century and the Cathedral, the greatest example of Cuban Baroque from 1777.

Lunch: 1.00- 2.30 pm at Café del Oriente at Plaza San Francisco de Asís.

Afternoon: Tour led by Audun Engh. The Malecon waterfront. Museums.

Evening: Optional dinner, organized by Audun Engh

DAY 2.March 11th, 2015. 9.45 am-12.45 pm.

Morning Walking Tour of The Walls District (19th Century/early 20th Century) led by Professor Julio César Pérez-Hernandez.
Meeting place: Statue of Jose Marti at the center of Parque Central.
Visit The Parque Central of Havana and the Paseo del Prado where the 1879 England hotel, the 1915 Great Theater of Havana by Belgian architect Paul Belau are; and also the 1925 Centro Asturiano designed by Spanish Architect Manuel del Busto- currently the Fine Arts Museum.

Walk alone the world-wide famous1929 promenade El Paseo del Prado, inspired in the elevated plaza concept and considered one of the best open spaces in the world by French Landscape designer J.C. N. Forestier who also designed the nearby Park of Fraternity and Avenida del Puerto (Harbor Avenue) and also the 1929 Capitolio gardens. Visit the 1908Neo-Moorish style Seville Hotel extended in 1921 by US architects Schulz and Weaver, the 1914 Casino Español, by Spanish architect Eugenio Dediot with its magnificent ball room ceiling, the 1915former home of President José Miguel Gómez designed by Cuban architect Hilario del Castillo.

Visit the former Bacardi Headquarters Building from 1930 (the Jewel of Art Déco in Cuba).

Lunch: Mezzanine bar of the Bacardi building or the nearby Prado and Neptune Italian restaurant on Prado and Neptune streets.

Afternoon: Tour of Havana museums, organized by Audun Engh.

Evening: Optional dinner organized by Audun Engh

Day 3. March 12th, 2015. 9.45 am-12.45 pm

Morning Walking Tour of El Vedadoled by Professor Julio César Pérez-Hernandez.

Visit the Garden City of El Vedado, planned in 1859-60 but mostly developed in the early 20th Century according to modern planning principles. Laid out by Spanish Engineer Luis Yboleon it’s considered the birth of modern planning in Cuba and the most important urban initiative since colonial timesas it introduced the green in the city for the first time and provided a very effective model for separating both the private and the public realm. El Vedado, a perfect grid rotated 45 degrees to the North to better catch the prevailing breezes and avoiding the sun contains two minor grids within its fabric: a small one for the University of Havana campusand another one where the Christopher Columbus Necropolis sits since 1871, which was laid out according Medieval trends based on the five wounds of Jesus Christ, meaning two main axes that further subdivide the land into four crosses and four quadrants.

Visit the 1906-40 University of Havana Campus and its most important buildings and walk along La Rampa district with its Art Déco and international style buildings. Visit the 1928 Napoleon´s Museum, former Dolce Dimora mansion, a Florentine Style villa, designed by Cuban architects Govantes and Cabarrocas and the famous 1966 Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor in the very heart of modern Havana across from the former Havana Hilton Hotel designed by California architectural firm Welton Becket & Associates in 1958 that allows for a glimpse of the 1950s.

Learn about the1950s hotels and Streamline Modern style apartments influenced by South Beach in Miami, and modern cinemas like the 1947 Radiocentro building designed by Junco, Gaston and Dominguez, night clubs, restaurants and shops are. Admire Havana’s tall office buildings such as the Award winning 1953 Odontological Building and the 1958 Ministry of Public Health both designed by late Cuban architect Antonio Quintana Simonetti. See the 1956 FOCSA building designed by Ernesto Gomez Sampera and Martin Dominguez. Visit the 1926 Museum of Decorative Arts, designed by French architects Viard & Destugue. Visitthe iconic 1930 National Hotel designed by US architects McKim, Mead & White.

Day 4. March 13th, 2015. 9.45 am-4.45 pm

Morning & Afternoon Bus and Walking Tour of West Havana & Miramar, led by Professor Julio César Pérez-Hernandez.

The US Influence in both Havana’s urbanism and architecture. Modern and International Style architecture. The suburbs, the new hotels.

Morning 9.45 am-12.30 pm.

On our way to Miramar visit the iconic Riviera Hotel on the waterfront, a 1957 building financed by mobster Meyer Lanskiwhose first designed was commissioned to NY architect Philip Johnson.

Drive along the tree-lined Paseo Street to the appealing and unique 1926 Casa de la Amistad, former Baro-Lasa mansion, designed by Cuban firm Govantes and Cabarrocas with Art Déco interiors and exquisite glass works by French designer René Lalique, his only design in Latin America.

Visit the Plaza de la Revolucion, former Civic Square, an unfinished project from 1958 where a white marble monument to our National hero Jose Marti outstands with other landmarks such as the 1953 former Office of the Comptroller that shows the big metal sculpture of Che Guevara, the 1957 National Library designed by Cuban firm Govantes and Cabarrocas, the 1958 National Theater by Arroyo and Menendez, and other significant buildings.

Learn about the negative impact in Havana’s urban fabric of the Miramar Trade Center Office Park and the new hotels area where the 1980 Soviet Embassy-tallest building in Miramar- overwhelms the district with its imposing presence. From the bus, see the Bauhaus like 1949 house of Max Borges Jr. and Art Déco apartment buildings and former private clubs. From the bus see the westernmost suburbs inspired by the City Beautiful Movement (Frederick Law Olmstead’s influence) with isolated villas in ample lots with huge gardens and eclectic and modern houses.

Lunch at Paladar Vistamar, 12.30-1.45 pm.

The former house of Cuban architect Miguel Gaston by the water includes an infinity pool overlooked from the dining area.

Afternoon: 2.00-5.00 pm.

Visit the famous De Schulthess residence designed by Richard Neutra with gardens by Brazilian landscape designer Roberto Burle-Marx in 1956 and
the Schools of Art of Havana.

The De Schulthess residence is Neutra’s only work in Cuba and also Burle-Marx’s design.

The campus of the famous Schools of Art of Havana was built between 1961 and 1965 in the exclusive area of the former Golf Course of the Country Club of Havana, now Cubanacán. Talk to students and artists who work there.

Day 5. March 14th, 2015:

All day trip to one of Havana’s beaches, led by Audun Engh, or a day on your own in Havana.

Day 6. March 15th, 2015.

Additional Havana tours and visits to museum, led by Audun Engh, or day on your own. Evening: Invitation to attend the evening opening cocktail reception for the 8th International Havana Charrette (15-21 March) Charrette website:

Day 7. March 16th, 2015. Day on your own, and departure.


Before 20  January  2014: Reduced early-bird rate:
Single room accommodation: 900 USD, 650 Euro, 550 GBP
Twin share accommodation: 790 USD, 580 Euro, 490 GBP,
Without accommodation (book you own hotel): 680 USD, 500 Euro, 420 GBP.

After 20 January 2015:
Single room accommodation: 960 US $, 700 Euro, 590 GBP £ including one week accommodation, all guiding, bus transportation for tours. Meals not included.

Twin share accommodation: 850 USD, 620 Euro, 520 GBP.

Without accommodation. 740 USD, 540 Euro, 450 GBP

We can also arrange accommodation for additional nights in Havana if you arrive early or would like to stay longer. Approx. 40 USD / 30 Euro, 22 GBP per room/night. Please contact Audun Engh for details.

The registration fee includes:
• 7 nights accommodation in Casa Particular (rooms for rent in private apartments);
• bus and walking tours of Havana,
• expert guiding by Prof. Julio Cesar Perez;
• additional guiding by Audun Engh

The registration fee does not include:
• international travel to Havana;
• meals.
– museum tickets

Contacts for registration and information:

Julio Cesar Perez, INTBAU Cuba
AudunEngh, INTBAU Scandinavia, Tel. +47.92622626

TRAVEL TO CUBA for the tour only

Recommended arrival date in Havana: Monday, March 9th
Recommended departure date: Monday March 16th, or later.

Participants are asked to arrange their own travel to Havana. Airlines with connections from Europe include Air France, KLM, 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.


You can book your own hotel, or register for the tour with Casa Particular accommodation included. Casa Particular is a uniquely Cuban form of accommodation; rooms for rent in private houses and apartments.  Most of the rooms are in apartment buildings from the 1950s, and all are located in the El Vedado area of Havana, just a few blocks from the Malecón waterfront. and the famous Hotel Nacional. The living and dining rooms are shared with the Cuban family. If you wish, the family will provide you with breakfast and other meals (against a surcharge). All guests will have single rooms unless otherwise agreed. Some bathrooms might be shared with other guests. We have collaborated with the same owners for several years.

We can also book additional accommodation in Casa Particular bed & breakfasts, for participants arriving early or staying longer.

Please contact Audun Engh  if you would prefer hotel accommodation. We can recommend several hotels in Old Havana and El Vedado, including Hotel Nacional: ,


The major currency for Cuba is the Cuban Convertible Peso, CUC. It’s what you exchange your foreign currency for and make all your purchases with in Cuba. For international exchange purposes 1.00 Cuban Convertible Peso = $1.00 US Dollar.

The second legal currency in Cuba is Cuban Peso, CUP, which is rarely used by tourists, The exchange rate is approx. 24 CUP for 1 CUC..

Some ATMs can be found, but they are rare compared to other countries. No cards issued by US banks will work in Cuba, and US participants should bring cash for the trip.

Euros, UK Pounds and US Dollars are accepted in any currency exchange shop. US Dollars will be subject to a 10% tax when exchanged.


You will need a tourist visa to visit Cuba. Please contact your local Cuban embassy. New regulations require you to submit the name of the hotel or the address and registration number of the Casa Particular. We will provide you with this information.

A Cuban tourist visa will be issued to US visitors upon arrival at the Havana airport.


We have had US participants for all the previous tours and workshops in Cuba. Due to the US trade embargo, US citizens will have to travel under either a general or a specific license. 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 –
. ABC in Miami

You may also contact the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York on
A previous US participant (Michael Mehaffy, INTBAU USA) wrote:
– “Have a look at this document:.

You will need to make your own specific determination, but in my case I went under a “general license,” no pre-application required, under the provisions of an international professional meeting in my professional area. I brought with me: a letter of invitation from the Scandinavian organizers; a print of this OFAC document with relevant sections highlighted; my CV; and my itinerary, making it clear this was a professional and international event. I had no problems whatsoever, and I am not aware that anyone else from these events has either.

The intent of the license is to avoid penalizing American professionals who might otherwise benefit from an international professional event in Cuba”.

Contacts for registration and information:

Julio Cesar Perez, INTBAU Cuba
AudunEngh, INTBAU Scandinavia, Tel. +47.92622626

Professor Julio Cesar Perez Hernandez

Our expert guide will be Professor Julio Cesar Perez-Hernandez, who is an international speaker and a member of INTBAU and C.E.U. He is responsible for the academic and professional program in Havana and the Cuban participation.

He is a practicing architect and urban planner, professor and author and has been a visiting scholar and visiting professor at Harvard, Notre Dame and a speaker at many international conferences across Europe and has lectured widely in the US, Europe, Canada, Bermuda, and Cuba. A Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School Of Design 2001-2002 and an adjunct professor at the School of Architecture in Havana from 1998 to 2006, he is also the author of the major books “Inside Cuba” and “Inside Havana” both published by Taschen in 2006 and 2011 respectively and of two forthcoming books about Cuban architecture and urbanism; as a practicing architect and urban planner he´s designed and built buildings in the US, Cuba and Spain. He’s the author of “AMaster Plan for 21st Century Havana” and also of many articles edited by professional journals. Julio Cesar Perez leads and organizes the international Havana Charrette on urban planning and urban design every spring since 2007. He is a member of the Guild of Writers and Artists of Cuba and the recipient of several international and national awards. His writings have been published in several professional journals across the world. Professor Pérez Hernández is the founding president of the Cuban Chapters of INTBAU and C.E.U. He was selected the 2013 Wilbur Marvin Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. He has led numerous tours for international institutions and VIP along many years that include Harvard Alumni Association, The National Trust for Historical Preservation, The University of Notre Dame Advisory Board, The NYC Museum of Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, The Cigar Club of Luxembourg, Vassar College, USC, The Fogg Museum Fellows, the Newark Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, The US Association of Museum Directors, Princeton University Art Museum, Exeter Museum, The Norwegian Ministry of Culture, and UCLA and Dartmouth College Alumni.

Audun Engh

The tour is co-organized by Audun Engh, Oslo, Norway, a board member of INTBAU Scandinavia. Education in Law. Project Manager for Conferences, Workshops and Charrettes held in several countries, including the 8 Havana Charrettes, 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.