Walter Betancourts Reforestation Center

Guisa’s Reforestation Center by Walter Betancourt

I discovered Walter Betancourt’s work while writing about Chess Park in Santiago.  This man, with such great talent, and a life cut short, is virtually unknown both inside and outside of Cuba.  His Reforestation Center in Guisa is one of his finer works.  Sadly, the Cubans really are unaware of what they have and the building, when I visited, was in the process of falling down before your very eyes from neglect.

Walter Betancourt, Guisa, CubaI was not allowed on the property to take photos, nor was I allowed inside the building, but I was able to snap a few photos before being thrown off the property. 

Plan of the Building from Oriente an Architectural Guide, produced by the Government of Spain
Plan of the Building from Oriente an Architectural Guide, produced by the Government of Spain

The Experimental Station for the Reforestation of the Sierra Maestra was a building project dedicated to Forestry Experimentation. The intent was the protection of indigenous species. I do not know if this is still the buildings purpose.

Forestry Station Guisa CubaThe building is organic with lovely transitional spaces.  There are many juxtapositions of triangular and hexagonal elements. Originally there were galleries, interior courtyards, offices, laboratories, a library with a wood archive and guest houses.

Walter Betancourt CubaThe building consists of brick work, stone and ceramics topped by a steeply slopping French tiled roof. The interior is punctuated with skylights.

An interior shot from the book The Orient and Architectural Guide by the Government of Spain
An interior shot from the book Oriente an Architectural Guide by the Government of Spain

Guisa, Cuba *Walter Betancourt *Cuban Architecture *Forestry Station Cuba *Betancourt architect

*Walter Betancourt *Guisa, Cuba *Cuban Architecture *Estacion Experimental para la repoblación forestal de sierra maestra

*brick *architecture cuba

*Walter Betancourt Architect

*Reforestation Center Cuba