National Awards for Conservation and Restoration of Monuments awarded › Culture › Granma

National Awards for Conservation and Restoration of Monuments awarded › Culture › Granma
National Awards for Conservation and Restoration of Monuments awarded › Culture › Granma
Photo: Taken from Prensa Latina

The National Awards for Conservation and Restoration of Monuments, promoted by the National Council of Cultural Heritage (CNPC), were awarded this Saturday at the Armando Hart theater of the José Martí National Library of Cuba (BNCJM).

«In this twenty-second edition we were able to find works that have to do with the work carried out by museums and also the rescue of properties with tourist use, but consistent with the conservation of heritage. These uses respond to the needs of the country in a respectful way and, at the same time, incorporate added value to this tourist product,” the vice president of the CNPC, Nilson Acosta, explained to the press.

The Award jury was chaired by Dr. María Victoria Zardoya Loureda, who read the minutes and explained that after evaluating the thirteen works sent by ten provinces, eight in the Conservation category and five in the Restoration Category, the jury decided that:

In the Conservation category, the National Award was given to the private home Finca Aguadita, in the town of Limones, municipality of Rodas, Cienfuegos, owned by the owner Camilo Cabrera Otero.

According to the jury, the highest award was given to him for the meritorious and systematic work of conservation of an important testimony of 19th century domestic architecture; for the sensitivity of its owners who have managed to preserve the main attributes on which the values ​​of that property rest, and for the correct preparation of the file that exhaustively informs how this conservation has been planned and executed.

For Cabrera Otero, receiving this award has a very special meaning because it reminds him of his father. «We have lived in that house since 1963, we have lived there for 62 years. My dad had the task of intervening with the landowners and then he lived it for a long time. He always made sure that the house was kept as he occupied it. Every little piece that deteriorated, he rebuilt it so that it was the same as what he knew… Although my father is no longer physically here, he left the legacy for us to keep the house as it was, to try to keep it as “He remembered her,” he told the press.

Likewise, in that category, the jury also awarded a special mention and two mentions.

On the other hand, the National Award in the 2024 Restoration category was awarded to the comprehensive rehabilitation of the Meliá San Carlos Hotel, in Cienfuegos, by the main designer, Aníbal Barrera Barcia; of the main investor, Yuri Quevedo Pupo, and of the main executor, Javier Librado Arango Díaz.

In this case, the jury assessed the comprehensiveness of the studies and interventions carried out in an emblematic building in the historic center of their city, which presented a high degree of deterioration. The complexity of the work carried out was highlighted considering the height of the building; the respect with which the new furniture and carpentry was introduced; the correct solutions to the complex demands of technologically adapting a building almost a century old to contemporary requirements; the quality of the information provided, and the rehabilitation and enhancement of a work of urban, architectural, historical and cultural values.

In addition to the Award, two mentions were also awarded in this category.

Special prizes were also awarded by organizations and institutions committed to the conservation of monumental heritage in Cuba, such as the National Union of Historians of Cuba, the Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage, AZCUBA, among others.

Among the works recognized in the Conservation category are the Hotel Casa Bausá, in Villa Clara; the Hurón Azul Museum, in Havana; the La Voz del Pueblo Printing Press, from Guantánamo; and in the Restoration category the Hotel La Dominica, in Matanzas; the steam locomotive La Mambisita, from Holguín; just to name a few.

The celebration of World Monuments Day arose from the initiative of the International Council of Monuments, ICOMOS. With the aim of demobilizing consciences around the built heritage legacy, it organizes different activities around the world. This year has the particularity of commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Venice Charter, which has functioned as a governing document that establishes the basic criteria and principles regarding conservation and restoration.

Regarding this anniversary, the president of ICOMOS Cuba, Humberto Ramírez Salazar, spoke, among other aspects, about the relationship between heritage and development; the challenges of today’s world: how climate changes, disasters and conflicts influence conservation and restoration processes. Likewise, he recognized CNPC’s work in preserving cultural heritage so that it can be transmitted to future generations.

At the ceremony, it was highlighted that 2024 is called to be a benchmark in the protection of cultural and natural heritage in Cuba, taking into account the entry into force, since March, of the General Law for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and Natural Heritage.

In this context, and in use of the powers granted by the aforementioned norm, the CNPCl, through its president Sonia Pérez Mojena, on site made public the reading of the resolution for the creation of the Heritage Cemeteries Network.

During the event, the book was also officially presented World Heritage in Cubaa work resulting from the CNPC cultural project awarded to the outstanding visual artist Julio Larramendi, to whom the president of the CNPC gave recognition.

Likewise, the CNPC recognized the BNCJM for its extraordinary historical and cultural value, its relevant heritage fund and the dedicated effort in the rescue and conservation of these assets.

The presentation of the Awards is the most important activity carried out on the Island as part of the International Day of Monuments and Sites, which was celebrated on April 18.

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