The Sleeping Beauty.
Photographs by Bodo Tuengler. Edited by Jochen Visscher. Text by
Alejandro G. Alonso.
Jovis, Berlin, 2008. 96 pp., 120 color illustrations, 6½x6½".
Havana in the 40s and 50s was a gambling haven, much like Las Vegas.
Today this pre-revolutionary boom still characterizes the city, which is a
blend of much-photographed, colorful, colonial buildings and a sprinkling of
internationally renowned Modernist architecture: Walter Gropius, Richard
Neutra and Oscar Niemeyer all passed through Havana during this time. In
1956, The Edificio Focsa—a 35-storey complex containing 400 apartments,
garages, a school and a restaurant—was built on the Corbusian principles of
a self-contained city within a city. At the time, it was the world’s tallest concrete
structure. Western influences set a standard, but the architects often
worked with local artists to create a uniquely Cuban version of Modernism.
For this volume, German-born photographer Bodo Tuengler has documented
the rarely-seen architecture of Havana’s brief Modernist period.
Forthcoming books in this accessible and affordable series include Tel Aviv
and Mexico City.
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