The Book

Cuban Modernism: Architecture, Design, and Identity

Victor Deupi and Jean-Francois Lejeune

Berlin: Birkhäuser, 2021


The history of postwar modern Cuban architecture has received special attention in Cuba, Latin America, and increasingly in the United States. This book focuses on the modernist generation of architects active from 1940–70 and extols the national and international importance of their architecture and urban works. Seen comprehensively, the projects embody the challenges that the architectural avant-garde faced to combine Cuban identity and traditions with the tenets of international modernism, in a country that was late to embrace modernity, increasingly under American influence, and on the verge of revolutionary changes. Moreover, and for the first time, Cuban Modernism aims at bringing together, not only the urban and architectural oeuvre that the modernist generation built and imagined on the island, but also the most important works they produced in exile abroad.  The complete book will bring to light the transnational and transcultural impact of mid-twentieth century Cuban architecture around the world.

Victor Deupi is a lecturer at the University of Miami School of Architecture, where he teaches history and theory, design, and representation. The principal focus of his research is on the art and architecture of the Early Modern Ibero-American world, and mid-twentieth century Cuba. His books include Architectural Temperance: Spain and Rome, 1700–1759 (Routledge, 2015); Transformations in Classical Architecture: New Directions in Research and Practice (Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers, 2018); Cuban Modernism: Mid-Century Architecture 1940–1970, with Jean-Francois Lejeune (Birkhäuser Verlag, 2019); The Modern Stable, with Oscar Riera Ojeda (Rizzoli, 2019); and Emilio Sanchez in New York and Latin America (Routledge, 2020). Deupi was also the president of the CINTAS Foundation dedicated to promoting Cuban art and culture from 201618.

Jean-François Lejeune is professor of architecture, urban design, and history at the University of Miami. His books include The Making of Miami Beach 1933–1942: The Architecture of Lawrence Murray Dixon (with Allan Shulman, Rizzoli, 2001); Cruelty and Utopia: Cities and Landscapes of Latin America (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005, CICA Award for Best Architecture Catalogue in 2005); Sitte, Hegemann and the Metropolis (with Chuck Bohl, Routledge, 2009); Modern Architecture and the Mediterranean: Vernacular Dialogues and Contested Identities (with Michelangelo Sabatino, Routledge, 2010). He has published essays in RassegnaThe Journal of Decorative and Propaganda ArtsJournal of Architectural Education, and exhibition catalogues and books. He is the secretary of DoCOMOMO-US/Florida and was an Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome in 2007. His PhD dissertation (TU Delft School of Architecture and The Environment, May 2019) will be published as The Modern Village: Rural Utopia and Modernity in Franco’s Spain by DOM Publishers.