Rua de Sá da Bandeira 630, Porto

Mixed usage building – retail and residencial.

Up in the north of Portugal you can find the beautiful city of Porto. Here is an apartment block in the city located at Rua de Sá da Bandeira 630. Below it at street level are shops and the Garagem de Sá da Bandeira, a car park, whose sign is on the far right. The building is well proportioned, if a little boxy. The only curved elements are the corbels at the base of the two continuous vertical windows used for the stairwells.

Edificio López Serrano, Havana

The Edificio López Serrano Apartments in Havana, Cuba.

We are fortunate to have a guest post from author and travel blogger Will Linsdell. He has published several books about rail travel and other subjects which you can see on the Hornbill Publishing website ( Will is the creator of the Wilbur’s Travels blog: ( which can take you almost anywhere in the seventy countries he has visited thus far. Among these is Havana, Cuba where his post comes from.

I have always appreciated an aesthetically pleasing building and my appreciation of Art Deco was heightened when I visited Miami in the early 2000s.

Although I don’t exactly go out of my way to spot certain buildings, if they happen to be located where I find myself I will go out of my way to photograph them.

Havana has some fine examples of neoclassical buildings and besides this has a few Art Deco jewels, including the López Serrano building.

The construction of the building was promoted by José Antonio López Serrano, a publisher who ran La Moderna Poesía, once Cuba’s most famous bookstore which stood for over a hundred years but sadly is a building no longer in use and fading fast.

See the Tripadvisor page about La Moderna Poesía here.

The López Serrano building was designed by the architect Ricardo Mira in 1929 (in 1941 he also designed La Moderna Poesia bookstore), and was constructed in 1932 when it became the tallest residential building in Cuba.

Centrally located above the ten stories of the main building sits a tower of four apartments that are supported by ten steel columns.

I took the photo that you see below from our high-rise hotel with fabulous views of the city stretch of Caribbean Ocean known as the Malecon.

An Art Deco tower by the beach.

Whilst the building (like much of Havana’s fine period architecture) is looking slightly worn, it is still a fabulous sight and worthy of any skyline.

The Havana skyline with the Edificio López Serrano far left

One interesting if not entirely pleasant fact about the building regards congressman, senator, political activist, government critic and presidential candidate Eduardo Chibás.

Eduardo was living on the fourteenth floor penthouse at the time that he committed suicide by shooting himself in August 1951, just after finishing his political broadcast on CMQ Radio and a day after his 44th birthday.

A view from the neighbourhood.

Photos and text ©2021 Will Linsdell and Wilbur’s Travels

Rua do Salitre 175, Lisbon

A French influence from the architect.

Here is a six storey apartment block located at Rua do Salitre 175 in the Rato district of central Lisbon. Its key colours are brown and white, and it has angular bay window towers rising from the third to fifth floors. Another feature is the carved, stone relief panels of flower arrangements which give a nod to the French designers who evolved them. These can be seen above the central entrance then between the windows on the floors above.

Flower arrangement above the main entrance.
More carved flowers and leaves.

Victoria Mansions, Durban

A diverse yet harmonious collection of decorative elements.

We are pleased to have a second guest post for this blog from the Durban Art Deco Society. Durban is South Africa’s third largest city and has many Art Deco buildings.

Situated at 124 Margaret Mncadi Avenue, Durban’s 1933 Victoria Mansions were designed by E S Cornelius. Victoria Mansions is an apartment building facing the bay across the Victoria Embankment. It has vertical pilasters with fluting which rise through an arcuated first floor. The facade is richly decorated with geometric patterns and an array of fantastical animal figures. Apart from dolphins and winged lions, it also has a vulture feature on the side panel of the entrance. The glazed tile panel over the entrance is a nostalgic memento of the days of the great Union Castle mail ships that called at Durban for so many years.

Photos and text © Durban Art Deco Society

A unique Art Deco vulture.
Another view of Victoria Mansions.

Mitre House, Brighton

Apartments near the seaside.

Constructed for International Stores in 1935, Mitre House In Brighton was designed by J. Stanley Beard & Bennett. Located in Western Road, it is mixed use with shops below and a six-storey block of flats above. As with many apartment blocks in England from this time there is a fine interplay between the brick and stone facings. The balconies are all faced with stone and rise from the second floor.

The main entrance to Mitre House.

Surrey Mansions, Durban

South African Art Deco splendour.

We are privileged to have a guest post for this blog from the Durban Art Deco Society. Durban is South Africa’s third largest city and has many Art Deco buildings.

The Surrey Mansions is one of the great Art Deco buildings of Durban. Located at 323 Currie Road, it was designed by W E Langton & W B Barboure, and completed in 1934. It is an eight-storey apartment building with detailing of imagination and sensitivity.  Block like ground and first floors, rounded corners up to a squared off top floor and with fluted giant order pilasters rising up the entire height.  Richly varied stucco reliefs with winged lions high up. Excellent resolution of geometry in the use of rectangular and curved forms.

Photos and text © Durban Art Deco Society

A highly detailed façade.
A detail from Surrey Mansions.

Mansfield Court, Nottingham

The entrance is an axis of symmetry.

A stylish, 1930s Nottingham apartment block, Mansfield Court’s look of broad, horizontal bars of contrasting brown brick and white render appears to be unique in the city, though there are several similar apartments in London, particularly in the west. You can find it on Mansfield Road in the Sherwood area of Nottingham.

Side view of Mansfield Court.

Ave. Praia da Vitoria, Lisbon

A four-storey residence.

On Lisbon’s Avenida Praia da Vitoria at numbers 17 and 19 we can find this pink apartment block. It has angular balconies, and stairwells that feature attractive bay windows. The photo below details the decorations on the wooden front doors.

This is a variation of the fountain motif.

Edificio Bororos, Sao Paulo

Edificio Bororos.

This is the Bororos Building, an Art Deco apartment block in the centre of the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Three storeys high it features a row of five horizontal bezels top centre, along with curving balconies with horozontal bar motifs. It was probably constructed in the 1930s.

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