Foster to redesign Fidel Castro’s School of Ballet

School of Ballet © toml1959

Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta has selected Norman Foster to redevelop one of Fidel Castro’s unfinished spaces – the School of Ballet on the outskirts of . Acosta studied ballet at the Cuban National Ballet School and has danced with the Royal Ballet since 1998.

The stunning, derelict building was never completed during the Cuban revolution, as the design and architects of the Cuban National Art Schools (las Escuelas Nacionales de Arte, or ENA) were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. However, in March 1999, the three architects – Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi – were called to lay out a budget to preserve the languished schools. These preservation efforts include the School of Ballet, whose cluster of domed volumes, designed in 1961 by Italian Vittorio Garatti, are connected by an organic layering of Catalan vaults that follow a winding path.

As reported on bdonline, Norman Foster told the Sunday Times: “Carlos is a great dancer who is inspiring the regeneration of an iconic ruin of early modernism outside Havana.”

© Nigel Young

Reference: bdonline
Image courtesy of flickr user toml1959, under creative commons.

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Foster to redesign Fidel Castro’s School of Ballet" 22 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Igor Reyes

    Oh well

  • Samuel AB

    Sounds like a pretty amazing and ideal project. I hope politics don’t get in the way too much.

  • Maykel Dominguez

    As a Cuban, I’ll rather leave it as is. A reminder of what’s become of our nation in the past half century. A derelict.

  • Anne

    There are so many brilliant South American architects. I don’t understand why they would approach Foster.

    • Facundo Antonietti

      because of what foster implies, contradictions of all times, the millionare star architect to construct the unfinished failure of comunism……power and money have been an everlasting marriage from the beggining of human kind, this is the prevail of capitalism over comunism, it is hiporesy at its maximum expression, but its the way things work when you are smart enough to set up priceless art legacy as an excuse.

  • Trompoloco

    Espero que se logre todo y que podamos disfrutar de ese magnifico proyecto cultural.

  • Jorgito1300

    This is a grand shame. As if there were not enough good Cuban architects? (granted that this one was done by italian architect Vittorio Garati)

  • Wam

    @Jorgito: the original building is from cuban-french architect Ricardo Porro.

    • Cbaroni

      to Wam: Vittorio Garatti designed both Ballet and Music schools from scratch. Ricardo Porro designed Modern Dance and Painting schools. Roberto Gottardi designed theater school.

  • Andrea

    “This is really important! We can’t permit to another architect to put his hands on the National Schools of Arts. We can’t forget how important is the complex to let Foster do his own project in the School of Ballet. The original architect is Vittorio Garatti and he is alive and well, he should be the one at the helm of any design or development at this site. He is the father of his project and no one should be allowed to redevelop the original building without his approval. Please share!”