La Mansion

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La Mansión de Mark Pollack in 1931.

La Mansión de Mark Pollack, is a neo-classical Florentine mansion in the Cubanacan Section (fka Country Club section) of Havana, Cuba built in 1930 by the Cuban architect, Leonardo Morales y Pedroso (1887–1965). It is located at 21st street #15001, Cubanacan, Havana, Cuba. It was built for Mark Alexander Pollack (1874–1946),the son of Alexander Pollack and Belle A. Rothschild (1848-1936), the American-born patriarch of a wealthy Cuban tobacco exporter. The house covers an area of 13,000 square meters.

It is one of the crown jewels of Cuban architecture and one of the most significant work of Cuban Eclecticism due to its temperate lines, and ornaments with no parallel in the modern and contemporary architecture. It has large rooms and is surrounded by extensive gardens, which in the past were arranged in a formal manner. Pollack commissioned a series of panels referring to the discovery of America which were placed around the main hall, but due to their deteriorated state when the Cuban government decided to restore the home, they were lost forever.

This hall is extraordinary due to its size (approximately 48 feet (15 m) long and 24 feet (7.3 m) wide and high), the organ which took up one of its ends, the wooden balcony placed at half the height of the other end, and the iron grilles which lead to the portico, which is the main element of the facade facing the garden. This portico has three arcades supported by double columns and a richly decorated arched ceiling. The central courtyard is exceptional for Cuban house architecture in the 20th century, due to its size and the fact that it is completely surrounded by a porticoed gallery, the columns of which are of different kinds of marble on both floors.

The mansion has been featured in Architectural Digest, Six Days in Havana by James A. Michener, in Maria Luisa Lobo Montalvo's "Havana", as the cover picture for Michael Connors' book "Cuban Elegance", as the cover photo for "I Was Cuba: Treasures from the Ramiro Fernandez Collection" by Kevin Kwan, and is featured in dozens of other books celebrating Cuban architecture.

The property was leased to the Brazilian Embassy until Brazil broke relations with the Castro government, after which it was abandoned and allowed to deteriorate. In the 1990s, it was restored to its original splendor at a cost of over $2,000,000 and is now rented by the Cuban government for its important guests.


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