Inclán, Pedro Martínez (1883–1957) By López, Alberto José-Antonio
The urban development of modern Havana and the emergence of a planning discourse in Cuba owes much of its existence to the efforts of architect, urbanist, and professor Pedro Martínez Inclán. Through his authorship of urbanist texts and discussions that were widely disseminated among the local profession, position as a reformer through his involvement in such influential institutions as the Patronato Pro-Urbanismo [Pro-Urbanism Foundation], and role as a pedagogue to a generation of young modernists, Martínez Inclán may be regarded as one of the most important figures in the genesis of a school of Cuban regional modernity, and more importantly a locally contextualized functional Urbanism.
A native of Cienfuegos, Cuba, Pedro Martínez Inclán immigrated to the nation’s capital in 1899, eventually beginning his studies in architecture at the University of Havana’s School of Engineers and Architects. Graduating from said institution in 1910, he joined the profession and from 1913 to 1933 held the position of municipal architect of Havana. He was responsible for the first Plan Director de La Habana [Master Plan of Havana] during the presidential administration of Mario García Menocal (1913–1921), and in 1925 published a book on his views on urban design and beautification including a hypothetical 100-year design projection for a future Havana ironically titled La Habana Actual [Current Havana]. His claims that Havana’s beautification was to go hand in hand with a renewal in arterial infrastructure through broad avenues and parks predated the involvement of French planner and landscape architect Jean-Claude Forestier, who visited Cuba extensively and produced a body of planned work for the island’s capital between 1925 and 1930.