Kenny Tsui, Unit 20 2006
Woven Void. The Archaeological Findings of Hotel Tropicana
The textural qualities of Havana informed a multi-linear design process that questions the void from mass equation in the conceptual disintegration of Hotel Tropicana. Spatial fragments are designed in an intertextual system of assemblage, in which the deliberate absences (voids) of a certain spatial moments in its woven system would encourage one’s imagination to fill in the gaps and thereby participate in the creation of an architectural construct. The void spaces of the touristic hotel mutate and reconstructs over time into Santeria religious spaces. Fragmented spaces and voids intertwine in the multi-textual exploration of an inherent narrative. Set in the future, sometime in the 2030s, an archaeological exploration has begun in the mysterious ruins of a once in a time trendy, touristy hotel in Central Havana. The curious journey through the unknown spaces uncovers evidences of inhabitation of the Santeria religious group, who has adapted the hotel ruin into honouring spaces for their Orishas (gods). These religious icons are worshipped not in their bodily form, but through their symbolical forms, colours, and materials. Thus expose the findings of a series of fantastic altars and divine spaces, assembled with ruined hotel furniture, machines and robotics fused with vivid Santeria arts. Further explorations find a series of aged drawings and magazines, revealing the hotel’s original design from 2006- its status as icon of a huge foreign investment regime, when Havana’s economy was totally relying on tourism?