Ricardo Porro

Ricardo Porro Hidalgo (November 3, 1925, Camagüey, Cuba – December 25, 2014, Paris, France) graduated from the School of Architecture at the University of Havana in 1949, having participated in the famous “burning of Vignola”.[1] After graduation, he traveled to Paris to pursue his graduate studies at the Sorbonne, where he was introduced to the work of the Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam, a figure who would influence him throughout his life. He returned to Cuba where he began to take on several residential commissions in Havana, including the house for Cristina Abad (1954), and the house for Timothy James Ennis (1957), both in the Nuevo Vedado. However, in 1957 he was forced into exile for his revolutionary activities and moved to Venezuela where he worked as a Professor at the University of Caracas until 1960 alongside the Venezuelan architect and theorist Carlos Raúl Villanueva. He returned to Cuba following the events of the Revolution and was immediately commissioned by Castro to carry out the exemplary project for the National Art Schools on the grounds of the private Country Club. He invited two Italian architects, Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi, both of whom he had met during his exile in Venezuela, to collaborate with him on the project. His design for the School (partly completed) is to this day his most representative and organic work of architecture. Nevertheless, he was frustrated with the process and accused of being too individualistic, and so he left Cuba in 1966 for Paris, to assume various teaching positions on the history of art and architecture in Paris, Lille, and Strasbourg. He continued working as an architect, designer, and educator while combining his passion for painting and sculpture until his death at the age 89 years. Porro was a member of the French Order of Architects and also received the titles of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres for his work as an architect, artist and planner.

[1] Paolo Portoghesi, Cristina Di Stefano, and Mario Pisani. I grandi architetti del Novecento: una nuova storia dell’architettura contemporanea attraverso le personalità e le opere dei protagonisti. Rome: Newton Compton, 2001, 460-64; “Homenaje a Ricardo Porro,” Revista encuentro de la cultura cubana, No. 32 (Spring, 2004); and Juan Luis Morales Menocal, “Fallece en París el arquitecto cubano Ricardo Porro,” El Nuevo Herald (December 26, 2014), n.p.