The location of the S.ARCH-2019 is Havana, the capital and largest city, major port and leading commercial centre of Cuba. It is the largest city by area, the most populous city, and one of the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean region.

The city can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado and the newer suburban districts. The city attracts over a million tourists annually. Old Havana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. The city is also noted for its history, culture, architecture and monuments. In May 2015, Havana was selected as one of the so-called New7Wonders Cities together with Beirut, Doha, Durban, Kuala Lumpur, La Paz, and Vigan.

Havana and Cuba lie in the GMT-5 time zone. Cuban peso (CUP) is one of two official currencies in use in Cuba, the other being the convertible peso (CUC).

Havana, like much of Cuba, has a tropical climate. In March the average daily temperature lies between 19 and 27 deg C with average relative humidity of about 73%. The average temperature of the see in March is about 24 deg C.


S.ARCH :  The 6th International Conference on Architecture & Built Environment + AWARDs


5-7 March  |  Havana, Cuba







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The conference venue is the Iberostar Parque Central Hotel***** located in the hearth of Havana. Known for its colonial-style architecture, which pulls in the rich culture of the streets, the hotel is regarded as the best hotel in Havana. It is an excellent starting point for those wanting to dive into Cuba's history and explore the most authentic streets and corners in Havana. Thanks to its coveted location, the hotel is within close proximity to the Capitol's featured tourist sites, lined with music and the best attractions and popular destinations such as Bar Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio.

The city of Havana was founded by Spanish Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuélla in 1515 and due to its strategic location it served as a springboard for the Spanish conquest of the Americas, becoming a stopping point for treasure-laden Spanish galleons returning to Spain. King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City in 1592. Havana expanded greatly in the 17th century. Walls as well as forts were built to protect the old city. In 1649, an often fatal epidemic brought from Cartagena in Colombia affected a third of the population of Havana. By the middle of the 18th century Havana had more than seventy thousand inhabitants, and was the third-largest city in the Americas, ranking behind Lima and Mexico City but ahead of Boston and New York. In 1762 the city was captured by the British during the Seven Years' War .The British immediately opened up trade with their North American and Caribbean colonies, causing a rapid transformation of Cuban society. Less than a year after Havana was seized, the Peace of Paris was signed by the three warring powers thus ending the Seven Years' War. The treaty gave Britain Florida in exchange for the return of the city of Havana on to Spain. After regaining the city, the Spanish transformed Havana into the most heavily fortified city in the Americas. As trade between Caribbean and North American states increased in the early 19th century, Havana became a flourishing and fashionable city. Havana's theaters featured the most distinguished actors of the age, and prosperity among the burgeoning middle-class led to expensive new classical mansions being erected. During this period Havana became known as the Paris of the Antilles. In 1837, the first rail-road was constructed, a 51 km stretch between Havana and Bejucal, which was used for transporting sugar from the valley of Güines to the harbour. With this, Cuba became the fifth country in the world to have a rail-road. Throughout the century, Havana was enriched by the construction of additional cultural facilities, such as the Tacon Teatre, one of the most luxurious in the world. In 1863, the city walls were knocked down so that the metropolis could be enlarged. At the end of the 19th century, Havana witnessed the final moments of Spanish colonialism in the Americas.


Due to Havana's almost five hundred-year existence, the city boasts some of the most diverse styles of architecture in the world, from castles built in the late 16th century to modernist present-day high-rises.

In the second half of the 18th century, sugar and coffee production increased rapidly, which became essential in the development of Havana's most prominent architectural style. The peak of Neoclassicism came with the construction of the Vedado district (begun in 1859). This whole neighborhood is littered with set back well-proportioned buildings.

In 1925 Jean - Claude Nicolas Forestier, the head of urban planning in Paris, moved to Havana for five years to collaborate with architects and landscape designers. In the master planning of the city his aim was to create a harmonic balance between the classical built form and the tropical landscape. He embraced and connected the city's road networks while accentuating prominent landmarks.

Famous architects such as Walter Gropius, Richard Neutra and Oscar Niemeyer all passed through the city, while strong influences can be seen in Havana mid of 20th century from Le Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The Edificio Focsa (1956) represents Havana's economic dominance at the time. This 35-story complex was conceived and based on Corbusian ideas of a self-contained city within a city. It contained 400 apartments, garages, a school, a supermarket, and restaurant on the top floor. This was the tallest concrete structure in the world at the time (using no steel frame) and the ultimate symbol of luxury and excess. The Havana Riviera Hotel (1957) designed by Irving Feldman, a twenty-one-story edifice, when it opened, the Riviera was the largest purpose-built casino-hotel in Cuba or anywhere in the world, outside Las Vegas (the Havana Hilton (1958) surpassed its size a year later).

Havana is served by José Martí International Airport. The Airport lies about 11 kilometres south of the city center, in the municipality of Boyeros, and is the main hub for the country's flag carrier Cubana de Aviación. The airport is Cuba's main international and domestic gateway, it connects Havana with the rest of the Caribbean, North, Central and South America, Europe and one destination in Africa.

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Havana has a powerful tourist infrastructure with more of 10.000 rooms in hotels and inns, the best and more famous restaurants and "paladares" of the country, dozens of night clubs, discos and other night centres as the famous cabaret Tropicana, facilities for all type of sports, golf fields, around 30 museums, 10 art galleries and near 20 theatres that make Havana, also, the cultural centre of the country.

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