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Project description

El Escritorio de Habana – The Havana Desk


El Escritorio de Habana, The Havana Desk, is a proposal that forms the north western corner of an urban re-imagining of Plaza de Armas formed through a strategic mirroring of the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales across a street paved in mahogany. It forms a gatehouse to the Palacio del Segundo Caba the home of Instituto Cubano de Libro, the state institute of literature, a vertical re-housing of the second-hand book market that unpacks daily onto the plaza and a writer’s retreat – served by selected extracts from the nearby National Library of Cuba.

The writer’s retreat is conceived of as an inhabited desk, a crafted, highly articulate timber building set within a cast glass vitrine which nestles in the shade and canopy of undulating walkways. The desk takes its clues from Hemingway who famously worked from both a neighbouring hotel and from within a specially prepared workroom held with a tower of his house in the Havana suburbs. Within this cramped space he worked, often standing, on an articulated mahogany desk.

Screened by the mesh enclosure of the vertical book market wall, a new topography of reading, recitals and literary exchange is formed out of the studied flow of wind within palace from which this public space is mirrored. This both informs the landscape and provides a strategic sensibility to the hot, humid climate of Cuba. Similarly, this landscape anticipates the hurricane through the provision of forms that can accommodate both gatherings of people and the surge of waters.

Long Section - To see how functions negotiated
Elevation of Vertical Book Market
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