Felix Cabarrocas Ayala

Felix Cabarrocas Ayala. Cuban architect, sculptor and draftsman. Since 1947 , Member of Merit in Sculpture of the National Academy of Arts and Letters. Formed part of the renowned firm Govantes y Cabarrocas.


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  • 1 Biographical summary
    • 1 Works and projects
    • 2 Featured works
    • 3 Sculptural works
    • 4 Group exhibitions
    • 5 Prizes awarded
    • 6 Death
  • 2Fuente

biographical synthesis

He was born in the province of Santa Clara in 1887 . He studied Architecture at the University of Havana , where he graduated in 1910 . Together with the architect Evelio Govantes Fuertes , he established the Govantes y Cabarrocas firm, which designed and built numerous works that stood out as milestones in the urban planning of the city of Havana and received international recognition.

In 1916 , the firm designed the Freyre de Andrade General Hospital , built within the canons of classicism.

In 1917 Cabarrocas restarted the National Capitol project . The first design for this work -carried out in 1910 by the architects Rayneri (father and son)- underwent substantial changes in its new version, such as the staircase and the portico, both monumental and finished in a dome, which Cabarrocas conceived. The style of the building was that of orthodox classicism. Work was stopped in 1921 , which was resumed in 1925 by the Govantes y Cabarrocas firm, emphasizing the importance of the monumental staircase, attaching large pilasters to the side porticoes and adding more classical elements to the dome. Subsequently, other architects such as Bens Arrarte andPedro Martínez Inclán , who incorporated innumerable modifications, until finally the American contractors Purdy and Henderson took charge of its execution.

Works and projects

In 1928 the firm undertook a new work: a residence for Dr. Juan Pedro Baró and his wife, Catalina Lasa (today Casa de la Amistad). Govantes and Cabarrocas designed the exterior, in the Italian Renaissance style. Inside, the art deco decoration was carried out by the French designer Rene Lalique.

In 1929 they carried out the project for the construction of the Ludgardita working-class neighborhood, in the industrial area of ​​Rancho Boyeros , near the José Martí International Airport . The first project of its kind to be built in Latin America included one hundred homes with their corresponding childcare services, school, hospital, theater, etc. According to Roberto Segre, it offered a sample of what the workers’ life environment should be.

In the period of 1944 – 1948 , Govantes and Cabarrocas designed the Palace of Fine Arts , made up of volumes of reinforced concrete, with continuous horizontal windows, accentuated stairwells and monumentalized main entrances. Marble and calcareous stone were used in its construction. Small overhangs with sculptural groups by Cuban artists stood out in the building, among which the work of the sculptress Rita Longa , Forma, Espacio y Luz , executed in white marble from the Isle of Pines, stood out .

outstanding works

Between 1952 and 1958 the firm built the Plaza Cívica -today Plaza de la Revolución José Martí and the José Martí National Library , in which the volumes designed with different scales stood out, with a central volume outstanding due to the verticality that accentuated the rows of windows. The main access to the building, -built in marble and calcareous stone- denoted the monumentality that was emphasized by the bas-reliefs reminding figures of international culture. In 1960 the work of the Municipal Palace of Havana was undertaken -current Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces(MINFAR)-, post-rationalist style, in the same square. Both buildings have maintained volumetric and monumental autonomy within the urban planning of the city.

Cabarrocas also designed, alone, the headquarters of the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Havana and the Pedro Borrás Children’s Hospital .

sculptural works

He also made sculptures. Among those located in Cuba , are:

  • 1924. The Caryatids, stone (with Evelio Govantes), at the Hispano-American Center of Culture
  • 1925Monument to the Victims of Maine (with Moisés de Huerta), Havana .
  • 1937. Horacio Ferrer pantheon, bronze. Christopher Columbus Necropolis , Havana .
  • 1929. Pantheon of Colonel José Álvarez, Cristóbal Colón Necropolis, Havana.
  • 1929Mausoleum of the Armed Forces , Cristóbal Colón Necropolis, Havana.
  • 1929. Monument to the Spanish soldier, bronze and marble. Loma de San Juan , Santiago de Cuba , relief.

group exhibitions

Cabarrocas also participated in collective exhibitions. Between them:

  • 1916– 1917 . Hall of Fine Arts . Cuban Academy of Sciences .
  • 1935. National Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, Havana.
  • 1938. Autumn Hall, Circle of Fine Arts.
  • 1939. XXI Hall of Fine Arts, Circle of Fine Arts, Havana.
  • 1940. Latin American Exhibition of Fine Arts and Applied Art, Riverside Museum, New York , USA .
  • 1941. Exhibition of modern and classical art, City Hall of Havana.
  • 1955. Permanent Hall of Plastic Arts of Cuba, Palace of Fine Arts, Havana.

Prizes awarded

His sculptural work received several awards: in 1915 , the Prize of the International Competition for the Monument to the Victims of Maine; in 1919 , the Second Prize of the Contest Monument to Máximo Gómez (with Moisés de Huerta, Spanish sculptor); in 1935 , the Prize of the Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture of Havana.


He died in Havana , Cuba , in 1961


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