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Neo-Classical

Havana is unique due to its unrivalled rhythmic arcades built largely by Spanish immigrants. Many interior patios remain similar to designs in Seville, Cadiz and Granada.

Neo-classicism affected all new buildings in Havana and can be seen all over the city. Many urban features were introduced into the city at the time including Gas public lighting in 1848 and the railroad in 1837. In the second half of the 18th Century sugar and coffee production increased rapidly becoming essential in the development of Havana's most prominent architectural style.

Many wealthy Habaneros took their inspiration from the French; this can be seen within the interiors of upper class houses such as the Aldama Palace (1844). This is considered the most important neoclassical residential building in Cuba and typifies the design of many houses of this period with portales of neoclassical columns facing open spaces or courtyards.

In 1925 Forestier, the head of urban planning in Paris came to Havana for five years to collaborate with architects and landscape designers. In the master planning of the city his aim was to create a harmonic balance between the classical built form and the tropical landscape. He embraced and connected the city’s road networks while accentuating prominent landmarks. His influence has left a huge mark on Havana although many of his ideas were cut short by the great depression in 1929.

During the first decades of the 20th Century Havana expanded more rapidly than at any time during its history. Great wealth prompted architectural styles to be influenced from abroad.

The peak of Neoclassicism came with the construction of the Vedado district (begun in1859). This whole neighbourhood is littered with set back well-proportioned buildings.

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