Source: MIA

What do the Miami Marine Stadium, Miami Dade College’s North and South campuses, and Havana’s legendary Nautical Club (Club Náutico) have in common?  They were all designed by Cuban architects who fled the island after the Cuban Revolution.

They are also some of the structures photographed by Miami-based Cuban American photographer Silvia Ros that are featured in Connecting Concrete: Modernist Architecture from Havana to Miami, the latest exhibition at Miami International Airport’sCameraWorks Gallery at gates D22 and D25. On display through June 10, Connecting Concrete is the latest collaboration between Ros and art director, designer, and writer Tim Hossler.

As a child of Cuban refugees, Ros is particularly interested in how Miami’s built environment has been shaped by its relationship with Cuba and how the two cities are linked. Throughout Ros’s career as a photographer, she has been dedicated to documenting her environment and using her art to inform and inspire people in her community and beyond to appreciate and participate in protecting and preserving Miami’s past.

“Miami is well known for its beachside Art Deco, famous landmarks, MiMo motels, and the vital residential areas, but the relationships between Miami and Cuba are reflected in many significant buildings and environments. I want to visually preserve and share Miami’s unique landscape. These buildings deserve the honor of being acknowledged and documented, not only for their storied pasts but for future generations who may not have the opportunity to interact with these buildings as we have,” Cuban American photographer Silvia Ros said.

The exhibition features 12 architectural photographs culled from Ros’s ongoing projects, Cuba Modern and Concrete Miami, that were taken in Havana, Cuba, and Miami, Florida, from 2015 to 2023. The photographs are grouped by city, with Havana images from Ros’s project Cuba Modern at D22 and Miami images from Concrete Miami at D25.

The exhibit includes concrete structures like the Miami Marine Stadium (1963), which was built by Cuban American architect Hilario Candela (1934-2022). Miami Marine Stadium was designated a national treasure by The National Trust for Historic Preservation and included in its 2009 list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places. Candela also designed Miami Dade College’s North and South Campuses (images on view at gate D25). Before his exile, Candela interned in Havana with Cuban architect Max Borges Recio (1918-2009), who designed Havana’s Club Náutico in 1953 (on view at Gate 22). Like many Cuban architects who fled the island after the Cuban Revolution and continued their practice in their adopted country, Candela designed numerous works worldwide and is best known for his significant contributions to the architectural landscape of Miami-Dade County and South Florida.

“Concrete architecture in Miami and Havana exudes a poetic beauty that transcends the utilitarian nature of the material. Though distinct in their cultural and historical backgrounds, these cities share a common thread of embracing concrete as a canvas for artistic expression,” commented writer Tim Hossler.

Ros’s Cuba Modern project documents the modernist architecture of pre-revolutionary Havana, ranging from residential homes to apartment complexes, sports complexes, and other buildings. Awarded a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge and an Oolite Arts Ellies Creator Award, the photographs are included in the book Cuban Modernism: Architecture, Design, and Identity, Victor Deupi and Jean-Francois Lejeune, Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2021.

Funded by the State of Florida Department of Cultural Affairs and the Knight Foundation Miami Arts Challenge grant, the Concrete Miami series explores the concrete-built environment in South Florida, highlighting brutalist and tropical concrete architecture. Although not on view in the exhibition, a photograph from this series titled Everglades Vista, Shark Valley Observation Tower, was acquired in 2020 and is in the MIA Galleries collection at Miami International Airport (near gate H14, post-security).