A Choreography in Old Havana
La Plaza Danzante on the site of the Plaza de Armas in Old Havana, Cuba is an architecture for dance performance. Finely tuned to the climate of the Caribbean Island, it is a landscape of wooden decks, elevated wind towers for passive cooling and cast concrete basins for hurricane surge water containment and distribution, all enveloped by a perforated screen. Adjacent to and derived from the courtyard architecture of the 17th century Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, La Plaza Danzante forms a new iteration of the internalised architecture of colonial Spain, courtyard and plaza, where light, air and water were key to dwelling.
Dance is a defining characteristic of Cuban culture. In Havana, the city streets and squares are more than transient spaces or gathering points. Here, tiled floors and cobbled pavements act as a stage for dance as the expression of joy, sensuality and passion through movement and music.
The thesis proposes a hybrid programme of dance and daily life that interlocks spaces for performance, observation, gathering, training and relaxation. The architecture of Danzante weaves in and out, opens and encloses, excavating deep into the ground and climbing high in elevation. It draws people in from the streets and in turn gives back to the city a constant display in the form of dancing silhouettes projected through a translucent metallic voile. In this way a landscape is formed in which dance is open to all.