“Cuba will count as having the most beautiful academy of arts in the world.”
—Fidel Castro (1961)
In 1961, three young, visionary architects were commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to create Cuba’s National Art Schools on the grounds of a former golf course in Havana. Construction of their radical designs began immediately, and the school’s first classes soon followed. Dancers, musicians, and artists from all over the country reveled in the beauty of the schools, but as the dream of the Revolution quickly became a reality, construction was abruptly halted and the architects and their designs were deemed irrelevant in the prevailing political climate. Forty years later, the schools are in use, but remain unfinished and in decay. Castro has invited the exiled architects back to finish their unrealized dream.
Unfinished Spaces, a film directed by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray, features intimate footage of Fidel Castro, showing his devotion to creating a worldwide showcase for art, and it also documents the struggle and passion of three revolutionary artists.
In 2014, Unfinished Spaces won the inaugural SAH Award for Film and Video, established by the Society of Architectural Historians to recognize annually the most distinguished work of film or video on the history of the built environment.