John of the Toraya Caves

Juan de las Cuevas Toraya ( Havana , 1933 – Havana, March 9 or 10, 2013 ) was a Cuban economist, essayist, historian and engineer, documented and diligent researcher of the constructions of the island. His works are referential texts on topics related to construction materials, architecture and urban planning. [1]

biographical synthesis

His grandfather was the architect José Toraya, who designed the Lonja del Comercio and the building of the first National Bank (on Cuba street corner of Obispo), among other projects. [1]

He has a degree in Economics from the University of Havana (1981) and a doctorate in Technical Sciences from the José Antonio Hechavarría Higher Polytechnic Institute (2011).

In April 1959, already in the midst of the Cuban Revolution, he began working at the Ministry of Public Works as head of the Department of Cost and Progress, in Camagüey. In the following months he was director of the National Marble Company and the National Asbestos Cement Company. Since 1960, he has worked permanently in the field of construction materials, in which ministry he was Director of Operations, Technical Director and Head of Production Control, both in Camagüey and Las Villas.

He was a member of the Cuban Society for the History of Science and Technology, the Academy of Sciences and the National Union of Architects and Civil Engineers.

His time at the Ministry of Construction, where he worked as an advisor, allowed him to save the important iconographic archive of that body, which without his efforts might have been lost forever.

With these and other images that he collected, De las Cuevas made known his book Cuba, to keep the memory. A set of 258 photographs of 139 locations in the country that allowed an imaginary journey throughout the geography of Cuba and also its history. At the end of the book, published by the Junta de Andalucía and the Office of the Historian of Havana, the author presented, under the title of Brief review of the cities and towns of the album , a commentary on the images with historical background of each locality. .

The importance I attached to that work made me duplicate efforts and rummage through books, magazines and old albums, thanks to which I was able to gather material for another virtual walk, which will bring back memories for many, sometimes nostalgia, for others astonishment and sometimes disbelief at the sight of places that we did not imagine like this, or of passages of history known on paper, but that are never shown to us as they were and almost make us eyewitnesses of events that occurred more than a century ago.

John of the Caves

Havana: Scientific-Technical Editorial.

Havana: Scientific-Technical Editorial.

The greatest value of Cuba: memory in images lies in its clear contribution to the preservation of the historical memory of our country, and constitutes a must-see material for scholars of Cuban cultural heritage.

Engineer María Cleofás Buajasán [1]

He was founder and historian of the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of the Construction Materials Industry . He was one of the few Cuban researchers dedicated to systematizing the history of our archipelago through its civil constructions. He had the privilege of spending years organizing one of the most extensive and hardly known graphic testimonies: the archive of the former Ministry of Public Works , inherited by the Ministry of Construction ( Micons ).

His essays and articles on cement and construction materials have appeared in specialized publications in Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany and Cuba.

He was awarded, among other recognitions, with the Medals 40th Anniversary of the Revolutionary Armed Forces , for Literacy , Armando Mestre . For three years he was the National Vanguard of Construction Workers. In 2011 he received the 2011 Work of Life Award, granted by the Ministry of Construction and the National Union of Construction Workers.

He has given lectures and courses, related to architecture and urban planning, at institutions and universities in Spain and Cuba.

He was a member of the Cuban Society for the History of Science and Technology of the Cuban Academy of Sciences , the National Union of Architects and Construction Engineers of Cuba, and the Gonzálo de Cárdenas Chair of Vernacular Architecture.

He passed away in March 2013 .

published works

  • 1993: The CubanConstruction Materials Industry, Havana: Ministry of the Construction Materials Industry, 1993.
  • 1995: 100 years of cement in Cuba. Havana: Ministry of the Construction Materials Industry and Political Editor , 1995.
  • 1999: A Century of Cement in Latin AmericaMexico City : Mexican Institute of Cement and Concrete, 1999.
  • 2003: FOCSA, reconstruction of a great engineering work . Havana: Editorial Obras: Construction Information Center, 2003. Madrid (Spain): Editorial Chavín Graphic Services, 2003. National Union of Architects and Civil Engineers of Cuba Award, 2005.
  • 2003: Cuban Sports Personalities(co-authored with Miguel Ángel Masjuán ). Havana: Editorial of INDER, 2003. Editorial Milenio, 2009.
  • 2004: 500 years of constructions in Cuba. Madrid (Spain): Editorial Chavín Graphic Services, 2001. Prize XIII Biennial of Quito Architecture , 2003 and Prize XXII Pan American Congress of Architects, Guadeloupe , 2004)
  • 2006: Cuba, to save memory. Havana, 2006. Spain: Junta de Andalucía , 2007
  • 2007: The Seven Wonders of Civil Engineering in Cuba. Havana: UNAICC-ISPJAE, 2007. Editorial Milenio, 2012. Critics Award in Scientific-Technical Literature , 2011.
  • 2011: The seven wonders of Cuban civil engineering, Havana: Scientific-Technical Editorial , 2011
  • 2012: Cuba: Memory in Pictures. Havana: Bologna Editions , 2012. [1]
  • 2015: Constructions Tell Their Story(Co-authored with Gina Rey ). Havana: Ediciones Boloña, 2015. Scientific-Technical Critics Award

 

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