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Road to Revolution: A 30 Day Journey Across Cuba


Road to Revolution

Image courtesy Abby Gordon.

Don't miss the opening reception at 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 2, 2017 for Road to Revolution: A 30 Day Journey Across Cuba. This special event is an opportunity to explore the exhibition while enjoying complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

In 2010, Shepley Bulfinch established the Howe Traveling Fellowship in memory of late Principal Sandy Howe (1946–2009). This internal award is given to a member of the design staff to foster travel, and with it, the opportunity to experience design and culture in new ways.

For 30 days in the summer of 2015 architectural designer Abby Gordon traversed the island of Cuba as Shepley Bulfinch’s 2015 Howe Traveling Fellow. Gordon’s photos document her course of travel and her investigation into the 1959 Cuban Revolution’s impact on the country’s infrastructure, and the way Cubans congregate and interact with their surroundings.

The architectural language of Cuba is rich with Native, African, European, Asian, and American influence. Though the country is now four years into an economic reform process that is starting to turn Cuba into a mixed economy, the physical identity remains essentially unchanged since Fidel Castro rose to power. Throughout it all, his country’s cultural influences maintain a strong physical presence and a pretense for discovery.

Gordon’s 560-mile exploration began in the eastern end of the island and followed the Revolutionaries’ route leading west. Her trip ended in Havana, Cuba’s largest metropolis and the city Fidel captured with the backing of the rest of the country. Along the way, Gordon met government officials, architects, historians, students, and locals of diverse backgrounds who aided her exploration. Their warmth allowed her to uncover social truths, explore decaying buildings, and experience urban, mountain, and rural settings. The photos presented in Road to Revolution aim to provide insight into the syncretic forces that shape Cuba’s architecture and the way its diverse community lives and engages with the physical environment.

Hosted at BSA Space, the exhibition is presented by the Boston Society of Architects/AIA in partnership with Shepley Bulfinch. It includes maps and photos that capture the rich visual quality of the cities Gordon visited on her journey.