• Jaragua no cae
    Alex Martínez Suárez and Rab Messina
    Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes, Santiago de los Caballeros
    Feb 24, 2021 to Apr 25, 2021
    Alex Martínez Suárez

Max Pou, Hotel Jaragua Aerial View, 1960. © Colección Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes

Jaragua no cae (Jaragua Won’t Crumble) is a book-cum-online exhibition focusing on a little-known marvel of Latin American modernism: the Jaragua Hotel, a rationalist gem built in 1942 right across the Caribbean Sea. The building, designed by the late Guillermo González, challenged the typology's adaptability, placing it within a tropical environment. And although the spot became an instant hit and its hold on Santo Domingo's social scene spanned through several decades, it was unceremoniously destroyed in 1985, surrounded both by protests and an elite that refused to see it as worthy of conservation—the first colonial city in the Americas still refuses to see anything beyond its Spanish heritage as preservable. The book and the exhibition thus tackle the Jaragua Hotel's unexpected history, far beyond its landmark architecture. What's more, they insist on raising awareness on the importance of recognizing and safekeeping what's left of the country's modern legacy.

Alex Martínez Suárez is a Dominican architect, researcher and curator. He holds an advanced master’s in architecture from the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands and a postgraduate degree in Museum Studies from Harvard University in the United States. He’s the general coordinator and museographer at the Fernando Peña Defilló Museum in Santo Domingo, as well as the director of Archipiélago, a multidisciplinary platform engaged in architecture, academic and cultural projects. Martínez teaches at Harvard, at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico and at the Universidad Iberoamericana in the Dominican Republic. He has also served as guest faculty at the Universidad Piloto de Colombia in Bogotá and the Pontificia Universidad Católica Puerto Rico in Ponce. He’s a member of the Dominican DoCoMoMo, the Fundación Palm Inc. and the ICOM, as well as part of the editorial board of Santo Domingo-based magazine Arquitexto. He has co-edited several projects on the subject of modernity, such as Architecture in the Path of the Sun: Understanding Dominican Modernity for the country’s participation in the 2014 Venice Biennale. He has also edited the academic publications Statu Quo Arquitectura Moderna Dominicana, Rastros de una Bauhaus Dominicana, and Guillermo 120.

Rab Messina is an editor, researcher, and curator who specializes in the sociological side of design. A graduate of New York University’s Magazine Writing program, she also holds a master’s in design curating and writing from the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. She was an editor at Brussels-based TL Magazine, a publication covering contemporary art and crafts, and she was also part of the head editorial staff at Frame, an architecture and design publication based in Amsterdam. As a journalist she’s written for publications such as Newsweek, El País, Remezcla, Forbes México, Disegno, and Wallpaper*. As a design researcher, she’s participated in projects for MIT Media Lab’s Journal of Design and Science in the United States, for Dezeen in the United Kingdom and for Slovenia’s Future Architecture Platform. As a research fellow she’s produced pieces for the Research Center for Material Culture in the Dutch city of Leiden, and the Curando Caribe program in the Dominican Republic. As an editorial consultant she’s created books, limited-edition reports, and web-based products for design and architecture companies, as well as for brands in the high-end design and lifestyle sector.