Monochromes: Tour Cuba’s Eclectic Buildings Through Early 1900s Snapshots

Friday, January 2, 2015, by Rachel B. Doyle

Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the internet’;s photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we’;d love to hear from you.

Cuba’;s architecture is a fascinating mix of influences, from the patios and fountains introduced by the Spanish colonizers in the 16th-century, to the cathedrals built in the simplified baroque style that caught on in 1700s, to the neoclassical theaters and colonnaded avenues of the early 1800s. As if that weren’;t enough, beginning in the 1920s, many swanky art deco and tropical deco buildings went up around the country, and a number of whimsical mock-castles were built. This historic architecture has remained all but untouched for decades, but thanks to the huge shift in U.S.-Cuba relations that began last month, tourism to Cuba is certain to increase, and hopefully preservation efforts will ramp up too. Below, a selection of archival building photographs from the University of Miami’;s expansive collection, all taken between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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