Foster + Partners has been selected to renovate and redesign Cuba’s School of Ballet, which was originally conceived by Fidel Castro. According to BDonline, the derelict school, which was never completed and has been overtaken by plants for the past fifty years, will soon be home to a new arts complex for Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta. Even though the jungle has taken over, Foster + Partners hopes to revive the abandoned school into a beautiful new facility.
Originally, the School of Ballet was conceived and founded by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara along with a four other art schools, including the School of Modern Dance, Plastic Arts, Dramatic Arts and Music. The buildings are considered by some to be among the most outstanding architectural achievements of the Cuban Revolution. The organic Catalan-vaulted brick and terra-cotta structures were built on the site of a former country club in the far western Havana suburb of Cubanacán. Vittorio Garatti designed the School of Ballet, which was never completed and has been abandoned since the 1960s when the National Art Schools fell out of favor and lost funding.
Although the school was overgrown by the jungle, Foster + Partners will redesign the complex and give it a new life for Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta. Acosta has danced with the Royal Ballet since 1998 and wants to convert the abandoned school into an arts complex. The series of domed roof buildings connected by an organic layering of Catalan vaults a winding path will be redeveloped. Norman Foster told the Sunday Times: “Carlos is a great dancer who is inspiring the regeneration of an iconic ruin of early modernism outside Havana.”
Images courtesy of BDonline and flickr user toml1959, under creative commons.