In my year at the Transsolar Academy, I would like to focus on a project with a real impact on the everyday lives of “normal” Cubans. Housing is one of the biggest problems in my country and due to the economic situation it is unlikely that the demand for new dwellings can be satisfied soon. That is why I want to improve comfort and quality of private and public spaces where most Cubans live. I think it will be important to guarantee affordability, material availability and flexibility to give the people the power to transform their homes according to their specific needs.
For the project, I would like to focus on one typology in particular, the “microbrigada” buildings. These are blocks of five stories built in the 1970s; they are the product of a program launched by the government to build homes for the people in a short period of time. Materials, infrastructure and layout were provided by the state, but the workforce was constituted by the people. In less than ten years, 100000 dwellings were built and whole neighborhoods of these buildings were established all over Cuba. Nowadays, these apartments are overcrowded, people look for comfort by putting air conditioning units and the settlements’ image is dreadful. I believe we can change that. And I hope to show it’s possible to improve the comfort of these apartments using low-tech, climate-responsive options.
Talia Quesada Campaña – Cuba
Talia graduated from the José A. Echeverría Higher Polytechnic Institute in Havana, Cuba, as an Architect in 2011. Immediately, she started to work in the context of Old Havana’s historic buildings. In 2014, she finished her Master in Architecture and Environmental Design at the University of Westminster in London, UK. Later, she went back to Cuba to continue working as an architect in Old Havana.