IN SEARCH OF NICOLAS QUINTANA: MASTERPLANS, CITYSCAPES, AND HISTORIC POSTCARDS FROM THE WOLFSONIAN LIBRARY

Today’s blog post comes to you courtesy of Associate Librarian Nicolae Harsanyi. A week ago last Monday, Dr. Harsanyi provided New York-based producer Josef Asteinza access to rare research materials intended to help in his production of a documentary film on the life and work of Cuban-born architect Nicolas Quintana. Here is his report: 

On May 31, 2011 Cuban architect and FIU Emeritus Professor Nicolas Quintana, passed away in Miami.  Until he fled Cuba in 1961, he had built himself the reputation of a “modernist architect,” becoming one of the top architects of the new “regional movement,” in which modern architecture was made distinctly Cuban through the addition of patios, stained-glass lintels, and louvered doors and windows.  For a time he supervised the planning of Varadero, one of Cuba’s premier tourist areas, and of Trinidad, a historic city on the island’s south-central coast.

GIFT OF VICKI GOLD LEVI

Quintana became the center of attention when at the 1953 Congres Internationale d’Architecture Moderne held at Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, he joined the faction of young designers who had begun to challenge Le Corbusier’s views on urban planning.  In contradistinction to Le Corbusier, who advocated that cities should be divided into “islands” with residential sectors separated from commercial zones and buffered from industrial developments and roadways, Quintana took the side of the dissidents and argued for cities to be laid out much as Havana and other Cuban cities had been, with residential and commercial areas sharing blocks along a grid system broken by green spaces or plazas.

PURCHASE, COLLECTORS’ COUNCIL FUND

THROUGH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ELLEN AND LOUIS WOLFSON III AND MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR.

LONG-TERM LOAN OF MITCHELL WOLFSON, JR.

These and other images were researched last Monday by Josef Asteinza, the New York-based producer of a “The Quintana Project: A Documentary Film on the Architect Nicolas Quintana (1925-2011) and Havana.”  Accompanied by Mariano Ros and Paul Echantz, Asteinza also perused rare advertisements and postcards from the Vicki Gold Levi Collection of Cuba-related materials that would recall the architectural décor and atmosphere of Quintana’s formative years.

GIFTS OF VICKI GOLD LEVI

~ by "The Chief" on September 26, 2012.

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