MINNEAPOLIS, MN (February 22, 2016) – MSR Design’s office will be closed February 25 through March 1 for an unusual reason: the firm’s staff will be in Havana, Cuba, exploring the city’s architectural treasures, urban design, and cultural heritage.
“We’re all excited to see the city before it changes, before the inevitable rush of McDonald’s and corporate America,” said Josh Stowers, an MSR principal. “It’s a rare opportunity to see a place that has its culture and extraordinary architecture so fixed in time. We think it will make us better architects, interior designers, and technicians and that the whole shared experience will help us bond and collaborate better as a team.”
MSR has been working for months to secure the educational visas and other logistical requirements for the trip, the third in a series of such group tours that have included Dallas and Milwaukee. Partially paid for by the firm, the trip will include four days of guided tours of Old Havana; Ernest Hemingway’s residence Finca Vigia; a variety of buildings representing pre- and post-Revolutionary Spanish, Colombian, and Italian architecture; museums; and a historic cigar factory. The group will also meet with leading Cuban architects and designers.
The trip’s activities satisfy standards for professional continuing education requirements for the firm’s architects and interior designers.
“Every culture’s architecture grows from its customs, values, materials, climate, and politics” said Tom Meyer, MSR principal and cofounder. “Here’s a place less than 100 miles from the US, which has been dramatically fixed in a time warp because of the embargo. Cubans have put into play what is available to make architecture that is functional and uniquely their own.”