Unfinished Spaces by Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray continues to gain recognition since its initial release in 2011. In addition to previous grants and awards, the documentary film recently won the 2014 Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Award for Film and Video at the 2014 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. Established in 2013, the annual award is given to the most distinguished international work of film or video on the history of the built environment.
Reflective of its Cuban Revolution setting in 1961, the film tells the complex tale of Cuba's historic National Art Schools project commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to visionary architects Ricardo Porro, Vittorio Garatti, and Roberto Gottardi.
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"Fidel Castro and Che Guevara commissioned the architects to create the complex of schools on the grounds of a former golf course in Havana, Cuba...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 decaying. Castro has invited the exiled architects back to finish their unrealized dream. Unfinished Spaces 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.
'Unfinished Spaces presents a concise history of 20th-century Cuba through the lens of this fascinating subject. Through the filmmakers’ use of rich archival and contemporary texts, film and still images, we meet the schools’ architects then and now, and watch the intriguing, and frustrating, journey they take,' said the selection committee."
Also check out previous coverage of Unfinished Spaces on our sister site Archinect here.