Acrylic on canvas – 24" x 36"

"Chunks of Havana’s rich and eclectic architectural history tumble to the ground every few days, piece by piece, forever lost in the rubble," wrote Ray Sanchez of the Havana Bureau of the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale Florida.

"Neo-Baroque and Art Deco treasures deteriorate at an alarming rate. Every three days, there are two partial or total building collapses in Central Havana alone."

"Buildings are standing by sheer luck," said architect Jose Antonio Choy, president of a Cuban nonprofit organization devoted to the conservation of Havana's modern architecture.”
In September 2008, after Hurricane Ike's lethal 41-hour odyssey across much of the island, authorities reported 67 buildings collapsed in the densely populated capital — 60 partially, seven destroyed.

Experts say a combination of age, decay, neglect, and the elements threatens important 19th century neoclassical villas and Spanish colonial mansions, along with some of the world's finest examples of 20th-century architecture — Art Deco palaces from the 1930s and modernist structures from the 1950s.

“Many buildings will be totally lost in 10 years,” said Orestes del Castillo, a retired architect and restoration expert with the office of the city historian.

George H. Rothacker - Havana '59 - Neglect

Painting: Price on request (
Print: $65 +tax and shipping

According to Nicholas Quintana, a Cuban-born professor of architecture at Florida International University, "Time is the biggest enemy."

"Neither the state nor the people have the money for repairs," said leading Cuban architect Mario Coyula.

"We know the country has economic problems… but something has to be done," Choy said. "Cuba as a nation is losing an important part of its memory.”