(Nov. 10, 2011) -- Cuban architect, urban designer and critic Mario Coyula will speak on "The Many Centers of Havana," at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 16 in the Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (1.328) on the UTSA Main Campus. The talk is free and open to the public.
As the third speaker in the UTSA College of Architecture Fall Lecture Series, Coyula will challenge the conventional wisdom of Havana as a monocentric city, examining it instead as a polycentric structure created around a system of squares rather than a single main square.
A noted authority on the history and preservation of Havana, Coyula has been directly involved in issues of urban planning, government and design in the capital city for many years. Presently, he is a visiting scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.
In his second stint as a Harvard visiting professor, Coyula was a Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor from 2002 to 2003 at the Graduate School of Design. Currently, Coyula is researching old master plans of Havana contained in Harvard's archives. Access to the plans previously not accessible to Coyula will heighten his scholarly work regarding the intentions of the master planners and the decisions they made concerning Havana.
Though Havana's unique political history has stunted infrastructure growth, it also helped to create the unique, vibrant metropolis with incredible neighborhoods and buildings dating to the 16th century. Coyula will discuss how newer centers began to appear west of the original center by the bay and how they survived with divergent inhabitants.
The traditional centers have suffered from the loss of function, disinvestment, disrepair and partial marginalization as many stores were closed or changed into makeshift dwellings to shelter homeless people. At the same time, vacant mansions in formerly upscale neighborhoods were abandoned by wealthy residents and turned into stores, dwellings and hotbeds of activity for the poor and lower middle class.
A man of college age during the Revolution -- he was 24 years old in 1959 -- Coyula was an active participant in the affairs of his time. One of his most significant commissions is "Panteón del 13 de Marzo," a memorial installation in the Colón Cemetery that is dedicated to the revolutionaries, his peers, killed in the attack on the Presidential Palace on March 13, 1957.
In addition to being the 2001 recipient of the National Prize of Architecture, he is the former director of the Ciudad Universitaria José Antonio Echeverría School of Architecture and the Architecture and Urban Planning Department of Havana, as well as the Group for the Integral Development in Havana. Coyula is the co-author of "Havana: Two Faces of the Antillean Metropolis" with Roberto Segre and Joseph L. Scarpaci.
"Mario's research on urban planning and 20th-century development in Havana is highly significant because he has lived and practiced there for his entire career, and there is no more notable or highly regarded Cuban author publishing on this topic," said William Dupont, UTSA San Antonio Conservation Society Endowed Professor and director of the Center for Cultural Sustainability. "Mario's depth of professional experience, coupled with his straightforward explanations, provides an excellent history of Havana's growth and change, also offering keen insight into the current urban situations in all parts of the city."
For more information, email Nicole Chavez.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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