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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Culture

Almendares River Park design in Havana Cuba

Posted August 26, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Culture.
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Harvard Design School

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Daniel D’Oca MUP ‘02, Shi-Ping Lin MUP ‘01, and Ximena Samper de Neu MAUD ‘01, Site Diagram

This design studio focused on the Western portion of Havana overlooking the mouth of the Almendares River at the Caribbean Sea. Here, a vastly underutilized waterfront, along with its contiguous neighborhood, offers great potential for a new mixed-use development that will include a major residential development combining existing buildings and new construction. Newly designed open space and parkland along the river’s edge and the reuse of an historic Colonial fort is also anticipated. It is intended that this renewed neighborhood will be the 21st century gateway to Havana from the west at the boundary between El Vedado and Miramar.

image courtesy of CubaXP.com

Looking North, entrance to Almendares River

As Havana’s role in the new economy of Cuba becomes more critical, this studio formulates a master plan for the renewal of El Vedado and its link to Miramar. Our work concentrated on the section of El Vedado from 12th Street on the east to 23rd Street on the south. The Almendares riverfront park that is the border between El Vedado and Miramar—at the end of the Malecon—comprises the western border of the site. To the south, the site borders on the world-famous Necropolis Cristobal Colon, a 56 hectare urban cemetery.

During the first half of the studio, students concentrated their efforts on the identification of urban renewal strategies and the development of urban design and architectural guidelines that led to the formulation of specific master-plan interventions for the district. It was anticipated that our designs for the new riverwalk and urban park, linking the district to the historic Colonial Fort of La Chorrera, would also tie newly created urban development sites to the river edge.

In the second half of the studio, students concentrated on the design of housing and mixed-use projects on specific sites. Designs of new, more dense, urban residential typologies were encouraged as a response to the current shortage of adequate housing in Havana. The studio worked in collaboration with the Grupo para el Desarrollo Integral de la Capital (Group for the Integrated Development of the Capital). On a visit to Havana students participated in neighborhood meetings, design charrettes, and presentations.

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Almendares.com

Member Comments

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On August 26, 2004, Jesus Perez wrote:

This is the kind of dialogue and inter-action that will help the U.S. in effecting positive change in Cuba, NOT the bullying that we inflict with our foreign policy.

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On August 30, 2004, Gregory Biniowsky wrote:

For all of you interested in development and convervation of the Almendares River in Havana, there is also a very interesting proyect being carried out between a Canadian group called CubEco and the Parque Metropolitano de La Habana, which is the Cuban entity that is responsible for the Almendares and its surrounding area. The project in question is a water treatment plant to clean the river’ water (which is presently quite polluted with organic waste) utilizing biological systems. Moreover, the treatment plant simultaneously functions as a hydroponic production site for food and reforestation and produces organic fertilizer for urban agriculture in Havana. It is a pilot project that was funded with money from the Canadian International Development Agency and will be functioning by October of this year. Presently there are plans to extend the system throught the Almendares watershed. Anyone interested in further information can contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)