Cuba is among a handful of countries, according to WordPress site stats, from which no visitor has ever found his or her way to this blog. I’ll attribute the lack of Cuban traffic to few computers and many restrictions on internet access, not to a lack of interest in round houses; in fact, as I just learned, Havana has a whole neighborhood filled with circular homes.
The Reparto Abel Santamaria complex, by Nicolas de la Cova, was built in 1963, a few years after the Batista government was forced from power. Those initial post-revolution years were a period of enormous architectural innovation, with young, progressive architects and designers exploring new ideas and new forms as they attempted to build a new Cuba.
Eduardo Luis Rodríguez, a Cuban architect and historian, has commented on the prominence of the circle as an architectural form in Cuba during that period. The city of Havana gained a number of circular buildings, including the Nuevo Vedado primary school and the famous ice-cream store Coppelia.
One can see Reparto Abel Santamaria’s dozens of round houses – and its large circular market building — quite well via Google maps. Each structure is about 30 feet in diameter, designed to house a family of six.