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Arquitectura y Urbanismo

versão On-line ISSN 1815-5898


PHILIPPOU, Styliane. Vanity Modern: Tourist Playgrounds in Miami and Havana of the 1950s. au [online]. 2015, vol.36, n.1, pp. 62-85. ISSN 1815-5898.

Bound by ‘ties of singular intimacy’, 1950s Miami and Havana indulged tourists’ fantasy and vanity, living up to North American consumers’ dreams shaped by advertisers, Hollywood and television. With his Fontainebleau Hotel, the Eden Roc and the Americana, Morris Lapidus restyled the Miami Beach hotel as a complete Technicolor fantasy experience, with theatrical interiors devised as ephemeral consumer goods for mid-century ‘Mr and Mrs America’. Agents of the ‘American way of life’, lavish, multimillion dollar casino-hotels were also rising in 1950s Havana, supported by Fulgencio Batista’s authoritarian government, property speculators and notorious US mafia investors, such as Meyer Lansky. The latter’s own luxury Hotel Riviera was designed by Miami architect Igor B. Polevitzky. The last of the series, the Habana Hilton, Los Angeles’ Welton Becket & Associates created the ‘icon of American economic authority’. Cuban architect Max Borges Recio’s Cabaret Tropicana crowned contemporary Havana’s large-scale nightlife and architectural scene.

Palavras-chave : Miami; Havana; tourism; 1950s; Morris Lapidus; Habana Hilton Hotel; hotel Riviera; cabaret Tropicana.

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