Cuba Field Seminar

SAH Field Seminar Cuba
SAH Field Seminar to Cuba
December 1–14, 2018

This program has reached capacity. Thank you!

Tour Leader: Belmont Freeman, FAIA
Double occupancy: $6795 | Single occupancy: $7495
Limited to 25 participants
Fellowship Deadline: August 17, 2018

The Society of Architectural Historians’ 2018 Cuba Field Seminar is an ambitious immersion in the architecture, urbanism, and landscape of Cuba, covering territory from Havana in the west to Guantánamo, Cuba's eastern-most province. The first five days will concentrate on the capital and its environs, examining the colonial architecture of the old city, early and mid-century modernism, and the radical avant-garde of the post-revolution period. The second week will take us on an overland journey through a string of historic cities—and beautiful countryside—ending in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s #2 city and very Caribbean counterpart to cosmopolitan Havana. Travel to Cuba, and to Havana in particular, has in recent years become easier for Americans. This tour, therefore, is designed to take SAH members away from tourist centers and to places that they would be unlikely to visit on their own.


This itinerary, including specific site visits, is subject to change.

December 1

Convene in Miami at airport hotel for drinks, dinner and an introductory lecture on the history of Cuba and its architecture.

Day 1  
December 2: Havana; Arrival and Orientation

Morning departure from Miami to Havana, arriving early afternoon. Introductory bus tour of the city with stops at key sites including the harbor fortress El Castillo del Morro for a panoramic view of the city. Check into the historic Parque Central, our home base for the Havana segment of the tour.

Day 2
December 3: Colonial Havana

Morning walking tour of Old Havana, visiting major buildings and public spaces from the 17th through the 20th centuries. In the afternoon walk "Las Murallas" and its civic buildings of the early Republican period.

Day 3 
December 4: Art Deco, Eclecticism and Early Modernism

Combined bus and walking tour in Centro Habana and El Vedado, the neighborhoods developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries outside the walls of the old city.

Day 4
December 5: Havana Modernism
with Eduardo Luis Rodríguez

Morning walking tour in El Vedado, including residential, commercial, and civic buildings along “La Rampa.” Afternoon bus tour through Nuevo Vedado, Miramar, Playa and Cubanacán, with selected interior visits to private homes.

Day 5
December 6: Post Revolution Havana: Tale of Two Campuses
with Universo Garcia

Visits to the two major university campuses built after the revolution: Ciudad Universitaria José Antonio Echeverria and the Escuelas Nacionales de Artes.

Day 6
December 7: East of Havana to Matanzas and Varadero

Depart Havana and travel east to visit the 1962 new town of Habana del Este, the historic sugar port of Matanzas, and the fabled Varadero beach resort with notable architecture from the 1920s through the 1970s. Spend the night at Iberostar Varadero.

Day 7
December 8: Cienfuegos/Trinidad

Drive south to the Caribbean port city of Cienfuegos, with its remarkably intact 19th-century opera house, eclectic houses and civic buildings, mid-century modern hotel and two extraordinary cemeteries. Drive on to Trinidad in time for evening walking tour. Overnight in Trinidad at Iberostar Trinidad.

Day 8
December 9: Trinidad, Valle de los Ingenios, Sancti Spiritus, Camagüey

Morning tour of Trinidad, an astonishingly well-preserved colonial city and UNESCO world heritage site. Drive east into the Valle de los Ingenios to visit historic sugar plantations, continuing on through the old town of Sancti Spiritus to Camagüey. Stay in Hotel E Santa Maria.

Day 9
December 10: Camagüey to Gibara

Morning tour of Camagüey, the mid-island city that Cubans consider the most romantic of places, with its beautiful squares, churches, and neoclassical houses. Drive east through Las Tunas and Holguín provinces, visiting early 20th-century sugar mill towns and the village of Velasco with its eccentric 1964 Casa de Cultura. End the day in Gibara, a beautiful historic sugar port—like Trinidad without the tourists. Stay overnight at E Ordono.

Day 10
December 11: Holguín, Bayamo and Santiago

Morning visit to Holguín, Cuba's fourth-largest city and an important regional center. Drive south to Bayamo, with its historic church and remarkable 1964 forestry station on the edge of town. Continue on to Santiago; check into the Imperial in Santiago de Cuba.

Day 11
December 12: Santiago de Cuba
with Omar López Rodríguez

All-day tour of Santiago, including the Parque Céspedes, Cathedral, 16th-century Casa de Don Diego Velázquez, 17th-century Morro fortress, Moncada Barracks, major university buildings from the 1950s and 60s, and a post-revolution pre-fabricated concrete housing complex.

Day 12
December 13: Santiago and Guantánamo

Morning visits to additional sites in Santiago; then visit an early 189C French coffee plantation in the mountains and the old port city of Guantanamo. From a hilltop mirador one gets a view of Guantánamo Bay and the U.S. Naval Base.

Day 13
December 14: Santiago and Departure

The group will return to Holguin for departure flight back to Miami.

View of Havana from FOCSA. Image courtesy Belmont Freeman.

​Havana Cathedral. Image courtesy Belmont Freeman.

Alfred de Schulthess residence, Havana. Richard Neutra. Image
courtesy Belmont Freeman.

School of Ballet, Havana. Image courtesy Belmont Freeman.

Casa de Cultura, Velasco. Image courtesy Belmont Freeman.

​Castillo del Morro, Santiago de Cuba. Image courtesy Belmont Freeman.


Belmont Freeman, FAIA

Belmont (Monty) Freeman, FAIA
is principal of Belmont Freeman Architects, an award-winning New York-based design firm, an adjunct associate professor of architecture at Columbia University, and a columnist for Places Journal. From 1997 to 2008 he was the president of Storefront for Art & Architecture, and he has served on the Board of Directors of the Society of Architectural Historians. 

An American of Cuban descent, Belmont Freeman has traveled extensively on the island. His research, writing, and lecturing on the subject has established him as a leading expert on Cuban architecture. In 2004, in collaboration with the Cuban architectural historian Eduardo Luis Rodríguez, he produced, at Storefront for Art and Architecture, the landmark exhibition Architecture and Revolution in Cuba, 1959-1969. Freeman has led two prior Cuba tours for SAH, as well as tours for Docomomo.


SAH membership is required to register for this program. Join or renew your membership here

Double occupancy: $6795
Single occupancy: $7495

All registrations for this program must be made through Friendly Planet's secure online booking system.

A per-person deposit of $600 is required and will be applied towards the cost of your registration. Registration is non-refundable. The balance is due on Friday, August 17, 2018. All reservations will be on first come, first served basis.

Friday August 3, 2018

  • Non-stop flights from Miami to Havana returning from Holguin to Miami, including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
  • U.S. Treasury Department, OFAC License Certification and Authorization Letter
  • Cuba Entrance Visa & Departure Tax
  • All land transportation, transfers & porterage in Cuba
  • Health insurance in Cuba (mandatory)
  • 01 PRE-NIGHT hotel accommodation in Miami (Crowne Plaza Airport hotel or similar)
  • 12 nights’ hotel accommodations in Cuba in superior / deluxe accommodations
  • 28 meals: 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 03 dinners (dinners remain included for December 6, December 7 & December 13)
  • Comprehensive educational exchange program, including entrance fees
  • Professional, English-speaking local guide, who will facilitate the educational exchanges with Cubans
  • Friendly Planet Tour Manager
  • SAH donation ($350)
  • Passports
  • Items of Personal Nature
  • Optional Travel Insurance


An SAH Study Program Fellowship is available for the Cuba Field Seminar and is open to current full-time graduate students and emerging professionals. The fellowship covers the single occupancy price of the tour package and includes a travel stipend of up to $200 intended to provide underwriting for travel to and from the Field Seminar destination. Visit the Research Fellowships page for full criteria and to apply.

Friday, August 17, 2018


The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) is registered with the American Institute of Architects’ Continuing Education System (AIA CES) to provide learning units for participation in various events offered by SAH. To receive the eligible number of learning units for your transcript, please provide your AIA member number when you register for this program. At the conclusion of the program, SAH will report your earned learning units to AIA and will notify you to review your transcript to ensure it has been officially recorded.


SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
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