Max Borges Recio

Max Borges Recio (July 24, 1918, Havana – January 18, 2009, Falls Church, VA) came from a reputable family of architects.[1] His father Max Borges del Junco was a notable architect and engineer, building great mansions throughout the city.[2] He obtained his undergraduate degree in architecture at Georgia Tech (1939) and his master’s degree at Harvard Graduate School of Design (1941).  After finishing his graduate studies, Borges returned to Havana to join his father’s architecture firm, Max Borges del Junco. He achieved recognition for his work very early in his career, at the age of 30, when his project for the Centro Médico Quirúrgico (Center of Medicine and Surgery) in the Vedado was awarded the Gold Medal from the College of Architects in 1948. Three years later, in 1951, his work became recognized through the unique design for the “Arcos de Cristal” at the Tropicana Night Club. Borges continued working often in partnership with his architect brother Enrique Borges Recio, and the Spaniard Félix Candela. Among the important commissions he completed in Cuba are his own house in Miramar (1948), the Someillan apartment building (1950), the Club Náutico (1953), the Partagás apartment building (1954), the Antilla flower shop (1956), and the Banco Nuñez (1957). He left Cuba in 1959 and settled in Virginia, where he continued his professional practice until his retirement. His own house, built on Lake Barcroft in Falls Church, VA, in 1962, remains as an example of Cuban residential architecture on US soil, and his 1020 North Quincy apartment building in Arlington contains two hyperbolic paraboloid (hypar) entry canopies like the ones he employed in Cuba.

[1] La Habana, arquitectura del siglo XX, 250-53; La Arquitectura del Movimiento Moderno, pp. 48-49; Gómez Díaz, De Forestier a Sert, 434-42; Sambricio, “Notas bio-bibliográficas,” 53-54; Eduardo Luis Rodríguez, “Max Borges Jr.,” in Diccionario Akal de la arquitectura del siglo XX, pp. 134-35; and ídem., “Max Borges Recio: Cuban Master of Shell Design,” Docomomo-Cuba, No. 41 (September, 2009), pp. 65-72.

[2] “Construcciones Max Borges [Sr.],” in El Libro de Cuba: historia, letras, artes, ciencias, agricultura, industria, comercio, bellezas naturales, edited by Wifredo Fernández and Emilio Roig De Leuchsenring (Havana, Talleres del Sindicato de Artes Gráficas, 1925), 821; Sambricio, “Notas bio-bibliográficas,” 53; and Los propietarios de Cuba, p. 90.