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December 14, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
This is a book about Memories of Travel. Cuba has always been a place of mystery and enchantment. As far back as 1838 the Lithographic Printing Company of the Royal Patriotic Society of Havana had hired Pierre Toussaint Frédéric Mialhe to take notes of the city and its surroundings. These visits were documented in three classic books: La isla de Cuba pintoresca, La Isla de Cuba and Picturesque Trip through the Island of Cuba.
This book was inspired by that earlier work. The drawings are souvenirs of travel, fugitive visions of a world that survives the ravages of time and history. It is not a book that documents politics or crumbling structures, as many recent publications of Havana have done. It is rather a simple sketchbook that celebrates a city that was built by immigrants who saw their talent flourish in this faraway land. Their legacy was a real and imagined city that survives today.
Jose A. Gelabert-Navia is an architect and a teacher. Born in Havana in 1954 he has practiced and taught for forty years. In 2016 after an absence of fifty-six years, he returned to his homeland. These drawings are a testimony of that visit.
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About the Author:
Jose Gelabert-Navia is an architect, teacher and artist. Residing in Miami, Florida Mr. Gelabert-Navia has over thirty-seven years of experience as an architect and is Regional Director for Latin America of Perkins+Will, Architects, AIA. Mr. Gelabert- Navia is currently a Professor of Architecture and formerly the Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Miami.
A graduate of Cornell University, Mr. Gelabert-Navia’s primary teaching focus is Architectural Design and History of Colonialism and Globalization in Architecture. He was the founder of the University of Miami School of Architecture’s Rome Program and teaches a course in Italian Culture. He is the author of many publications, including CUBA Memories of Travel/Recuerdos de Viaje.
As the child of two architects, Mr. Gelabert-Navia was immersed in the world of architecture practically from birth. His earliest memories of life in Cuba and later of Puerto Rico, consist of driving from building to building to visit their growing practice.
Exile from Cuba shaped the path of Mr. Gelabert-Navia’s career. He developed a global curiosity, moving from country to country, learning from each new location. This experience afforded him a level of comfort when he made Miami his home – he found he could easily relate to the diverse cultures that make Miami so unique.
Mr. Gelabert-Navia has dedicated his career to projects with a positive social impact. When analyzing new opportunities, he asks how they can improve the quality of life for their future inhabitants.
Mr. Gelabert-Navia previously held the position of Dean at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture where he started the school’s architecture program in Italy. He credits the trips to Italy and other parts of Europe as being transformative to his career. These experiences helped to place what the Miami studio of Perkins + Will does architecturally into a broader historical and cultural context.