Edificio FOCSA

CA4
General sightseeing
Architectural style: Modern
CA Ranking: 4
17 entre M and N
  • Considered one of the seven wonders of Cuban civil engineering, when built, the Focsa building was among the largest reinforced concrete structures in the world. Construction works took 28 months, and their completion in 1956 marked the beginning of the tall-building era in Havana. At a time when concrete buildings with more than 18 floors were simply not practical from a financial viewpoint, this construction, with its 28 floors, was the second tallest concrete building in the world. With beauty parlors, shops, swimming pool and many other facilities, the idea was to create a city within the city, so that tenants would have no need to leave the complex.

    All of Focsa’s 373 apartments (among them seven penthouse and two duplex) have great views of the sea and were sold for between 17,500 and 21,500 pesos; and despite that 30 more pesos were charged for every floor up, the apartments on the top floors were sold first. Additionally, being such a tall building for the standards of that time, medical experts were consulted on the effects that the building’s oscillation and vibrations could have had on the tenants.

    Providing electricity was quite a challenge too, taking into consideration that all of the apartments were equipped with electric cookers and heaters. Engineers implemented then a distribution system with transformers every three floors, which is still in place with only a few modifications made to it, although the load in much greater today.

    In the years following the triumph of the 1959 Revolution, the Focsa building was used to accommodate Russian officials and students. Having reached an appalling state of decay, all of the apartments, the restaurant-bar (formerly the exclusive Club La Torre, for wealthy owners of large companies.) and exterior were renovated and repainted.

    
  • Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Edificio de Arte Internacional

    Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes – Edificio de Arte Internacional  LH 5

    The International collection (Edificio de Arte Internacional) In 2001, after the new venues were chosen for the National Museum of Fine Arts, the international collection was installed in the former C …

    Tren de Hershey

    Tren de Hershey  LH 5+

    In 1926, Pennsylvania based Hershey Corporation built a 135-km-long electric railroad network in Cuba to transport product and personnel from Havana to Hershey’s sugar factory 45 km east of the capita …

    Gran Parque Metropolitano (Parque Almendares)

    Gran Parque Metropolitano (Parque Almendares)  LH 5+

    Along the banks of the Almendares River is Parque Almendares, also known as Bpsque de La Haband (Havana’s Forest). This is the only urban forest in the city and is a recreational area for Habaneros th …

    Callejón de Hamel

    Callejón de Hamel  LH 5+

    The narrow two-block long alley between Aramburu and Hospital streets in Centro Habana has over the years become a shrine to Afro-Cuban religions through the art created by Salvador González. The buil …

    Plaza de Armas

    Plaza de Armas  LH 5+

    The early city was formally founded in 1519 on the northeast side of what would soon be laid out as Plaza de la Iglesia—named for the simple church that stood here until 1741, when it was destroyed fo …

    Necrópolis de Cristóbal Colón

    Necrópolis de Cristóbal Colón  LH 5+

    History & architecture Declared National Monument in 1987, this is the most important cemetery in Cuba and its 57 hectares (10 acres) makes it the largest in America. According to Enrique Martínez …

    Plaza de San Francisco

    Plaza de San Francisco  LH 5+

    Right across Havana harbor, Plaza de San Francisco is one of the first three built in the 16th century. It takes its name from the Franciscan convent built there. The plaza became the site of a market …

    Plaza de la Catedral

    Plaza de la Catedral  LH 5+

    The last of the main squares to be created, this is one of Old Havana’s most beautiful spots. Originally, it was named Plaza de la Ciénaga (Swamp Square) because of its muddy terrain, but by the 18th …

    Hotel Nacional de Cuba

    Hotel Nacional de Cuba  LH 5+

    In response to the increasing influx of American tourists in the late 20s (mainly those who were escaping Prohibition, in force in the United States at the time), the construction of a luxury hotel wa …

    The Malecón

    The Malecón  LH 5+

    The Malecón, first named Avenida del Golfo, is Cuba’s most famous sea-side avenue. The project was undertaken by Don Francisco de Albear, Cuba’s greatest engineer at the time. Albear came up with a co …

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