The solars of Cuba

Photographs by Carolina Sandretto

HAVANA, CUBA — A tumultous history over the past half-century has created a shortage of new housing in Cuba. While the regime provides education and food for its citzens, people are forced to live in the same houses as their families because they lack the means or permissions to build new ones. 

The housing shortage has led to the creation of buildings across the island known as “solars”. Originally designed to house single families, these crumbling 19th-century apartments have been divided into single-room occupancies where entire families — spanning different generations — eat, sleep and live together.