ARCHITETTURE DA RIANIMARE: La Habana Vieja

By December 14, 2015Uncategorized

Quando stai per scrivere di Cuba c’è bisogno che prima si faccia un po’ di ordine nella testa. E’ un attimo che ti ritrovi a parlare di politica, dei cubani, della natura, del tabacco, dei colori, dell’atmosfera, del mare… ecco, appunto, è meglio fermarsi qui.
Ma fare ordine è tanto difficile, anche quando sai bene cosa scrivere e di cosa vuoi parlare. E’ chiaro che qui si parlerà di architettura cubana, ma è impossibile scinderla dalla politica e dai cubani.
Perchè Cuba è così. E’ un casino. E passateci il termine perchè altri non ce ne sono.

Before you start writing about Cuba, you need to make order in your head. In a while, you find yourself talking about politics, Cuban nature, tobacco, colors, atmosphere, sea …….you see! It is better to stop now. 
But making order is so hard, even when you know what to write and to talk about. It is clear in this topic we are talking about Cuban architecture, but it is impossible to avoid spending word about the Cuban politic and the Cuban people when you talk about architecture.
….Couse Cuba is like that. It ‘a mess. Sorry, but there is no other term to explain Cuba.

Quando ci siamo imbattuti nell’Habana Vieja siamo rimasti a bocca aperta, chi per motivi positivi e chi negativi. Quell’angolo di città è un susseguirsi di colori talvolta bruciati dal sole e talvolta sbiaditi dal tempo. E’ un’immagine di gioielli avvolti nella puzza di fogna o nel profumo delle cucine cubane. E’ un ponteggio sotto il sole cocente di Agosto, che cerca con la sua inesorabile lentezza di sistemarne un pezzetto. E’ una porta aperta di un edificio che dentro non ha più nulla e lascia di nuovo intravedere il cielo. E’ un’altra porta aperta su una hall polverosa dove troneggia una scala dalle linee sinuose ed un parapetto in ferro lavorato da fare invidia al liberty più raffinato, con seduto al centro un bambino che gioca e ti fa esclamare “ma li dentro ci vivono!”. E’ una casa particulares pulitissima ed ordinatissima con la tranquillità di un dondolo nel piccolo cortile interno a cielo aperto. E’ una piazza restaurata che ti lascia immaginare come sarebbe l’Avana se le sue architetture fossero completamente rianimate.

When we arrived at Habana Vieja we got surprised, for positive and negative reasons. Every corner of the city is a succession of colors, sometimes sun burned and sometimes faded up by time. It is an image of jewels wrapped in the sewer stench or the cuban kitchens scent. It is a scaffold under the August sun, searching with his inexorable slow to fix a piece. It is an open door of a building which has nothing inside anymore and let glimpse the sky again. It is another open door on a dusty hall where a staircase is standing with its sinuous lines and its wrought steel railing that rivals the finest liberty style, where a child sitting in the middle playing and makes you exclaim… are they really living in there?…. It is a casa particulares very clean and tidy with the calm of a rocking chair in a small open courtyard. It is a restored square that let you imagine how would be Havana if its architecture were completely reanimated.

L’Havana si è fermata al 1959, congelata nella sua bellezza coloniale, quando il governo rivoluzionario di Fidel Castro cambiò drasticamente politica. C’è chi dice che da qui è iniziato il suo declino, ma a noi piace pensare che ha semplicemente avuto un altro destino. Attualmente, e molto lentamente, La Habana Vieja sta vedendo molti dei suoi edifici in fase di restauro, grazie ai fondi stanziati dall’UNESCO, di cui ne è diventata patrimonio, e grazie all’Oficina del Historiador che gestisce tutti i restauri da molti anni.
E noi non potevamo fare a meno di immaginare quanto sarebbe bello lavorare tra quegli edifici in rovina. Recuperarli. Rianimarli. Farli splendere ancora di più.
Però, una voce di sottofondo ripete sempre la stessa cosa “L’Avana avrebbe lo stesso fascino se fosse perfetta come vorremmo?” Forse si e forse no.  E forse vorrebbe dire dare ragione alle teorie di John Ruskin e cedere al fascino della patina pura.  Non lo possiamo sapere. E il dubbio rimane. E mentre continuiamo ad arrovellarci su questo dilemma, la vita continua a scorrere nell’isola dove le persone sembrano felici. Tutti sempre in strada e fuori dalle loro case. Quelle case che vorremmo tanto rimettere a nuovo, ma che i cubani vivono così poco… Ed è allora che ti rendi conto che a Cuba, prima, bisognerebbe mettere a posto qualcos’altro. Forse basterebbe semplicemente chiederlo a loro, ai cubani.

Havana has stopped to 1959, frozen in its colonial beauty, when the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro drastically changed politics. Some people say from that time began its decline, but we like to think that he simply had another destiny. Currently, and very slowly, La Habana Vieja is seeing many of its buildings being restored, with funding by UNESCO, of which it has become heritage, and thanks to the Oficina del Historiador that has managed all restoration activity for many years. 
And we could just imagine how it would be nice to work in those buildings in ruins. Renovate them. Reanimate them. Make them shining again and even more.
However, an unseen voice always repeats the same thing…Havana would have the same appeal if it was perfect as we would like?.. Maybe yes and maybe not. And maybe it would mean giving reason to the John Ruskin theories and giving up to the charm of pure patina. We cannot know. And the doubt stays. And as we keep on rack in our brain on this dilemma, life continues to flow in the island where people seem happy. Everyone always in the middle of the streets and out of their homes. Those houses that we would love renovate again, but that Cuban people do not live so much … And you realize that, in Cuba, first, they should fix something else. Perhaps it would be enough simply to ask them, the Cubans.

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