CasaCuba, the future colossal center of Cuban culture in Miami
While the island is experiencing moments of cultural persecution, architect René González is drawing the first sketches of what will be a symbol for Cubans in…
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Florida International University (FIU) announced last week that the architectural firm of René González, one of Miami's most acclaimed architects, will be in charge of designing its colossal CasaCuba project.
It's the center of culture and thought on the island's history and culture and relationship with the United States that is expected to open in the spring of 2024 in Miami and, according to the architectural firm, will be the first of its kind in the United States.
The CasaCuba project was launched five years ago in parallel with a funding campaign that has managed to raise more than $25.6 million for construction. Among its backers are institutions like the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
With a design that will be "neither nostalgic nor traditional," according to González, CasaCuba will be influenced by Cuban architecture and its three 'P's (patios, porticos and blinds), but will also be inspired by the work of architects of the 1950s that "was truncated by the revolution."
"My hope is that (it) will be embraced and enjoyed (not only) by students and faculty, but also by an audience that ranges from neighbors to visiting dignitaries from around the world," the architect added.
And everything points to that.
The new building will celebrate Cuban culture through multiple disciplines, including the performing arts, numerous exhibition halls, and "dynamic programs," as well as prioritizing the many narratives that make up the country's history.
One of the most interesting aspects is the creation of the Cuban Research Institute (CRI), which is designed to promote discussions among academics, business leaders, and key decision makers, and will be a space to reflect on the present and future of the relationship between the United States and Cuba.
Perhaps, the IRC will make history by being the place where a lasting and peaceful solution is worked out for both countries.
Although FIU opened a call for projects in 2015 and many international studies were presented, some as well known as that of the architect Zaha Hadid, it was René González who won the award.
González was born in Cuba, but moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at two years old. With a very early vocation for architecture, he studied at the University of Florida, and then got a Master's of Architecture at UCLA.
A disciple of great architects such as Frank Israel and Richard Meier, the Cuban has some architectural gems on his resume such as the headquarters of the Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO), in Downtown Miami, and the incredible 30-square-foot glass house on the island of Indian Creek, which he built with the studio he founded 22 years ago, RGA.