John Loomis is an architect, educator, and author of, Revolution of Forms: Cuba’s Forgotten Art Schools, published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2011. The book examines the convergence and collision of architecture, ideology, and culture in 1960s Cuba through the design for the Escuelas Nacionales de Arte (National Art Schools). The attention that this book brought to these works of architecture encouraged the Cuban government to commit to their preservation. The book played an important part in the creation of, Unfinished Spaces, a documentary film by Alysa Nahmias. It also inspired a series of installations by Cuban artist Felipe Dulzaides, most notably Utopía Posible, as well as “Next Time It Rains,” and “Broken Glass.” Revolution of Forms has also become the basis for an opera being created by producer Charles Koppelman with Robert Wilson as director.

John Loomis practiced architecture in New York with Kiss, Cathcart, Architects, a leader in the development and integration of photovoltaic technologies into building systems. He taught architecture at The City College of New York/CUNY. Moving to California he chaired the Architecture Program at the California College of Art. He has also taught at Stanford University and University of San Francisco. He is currently a professor at San José State University.

He is former Director of Development and Communications for CyArk, a project of the Kacyra Family Foundation, which brings laser scanning and other advanced geospatial technologies to the preservation of world heritage sites.

In June 2002, John Loomis co–chaired with Marisa Oliver the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture International Conference, Architecture, Culture, and the Challenges of Globalization, in Havana. In December 2002 he was a member of the California Business and Trade Delegation to Cuba.

In addition to Revolution of Forms, he has authored over thirty articles, which have appeared in Design Book Review where he was executive editor, Casabella, Harvard Design Magazine, Progressive Architecture, Urban Land, San Francisco Chronicle and other journals. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute and a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.


john loomis

“Without John Loomis’s wonderful and invaluable book about the Art Schools at Cubanacán, where I taught dance, I simply wouldn’t have been able to make the place come alive. It was uncanny: I’d just started writing my own book when someone sent me Loomis’s Revolution of Forms. I felt like my brain had been snooped into. But when I started reading, I realized that the weirdly beautiful schools of my memory were simply one of the twentieth century’s great architectural achievements.”
Alma Guillermoprieto, Author
Dancing with Cuba, A Memoir of the Revolution (Pantheon 2004)

“When John Loomis published Revolution of Forms in 1999, the schools stood unfinished and derelict, virtually forgotten in Cuba and unknown to the rest of the world. Loomis’ influential book transformed their situation and brought them deserved national and international attention. Loomis’ thorough and engaging account of the school’s founding and construction and his penetrating interpretation of the buildings’ provocative imagery make this a major work of scholarship. It also reads like a good novel and has played its own revolutionary role in the history of the buildings, inspiring among other things an opera and a documentary film.”
Bonnie Burnham, President
World Monuments Fund

Revolution of Forms was of enormous importance for my work. While many officials attacked my architecture, Loomis defended it in front of the world. It made many in Cuba discover that architecture can be poetry. In fact, the freedom of forms of the buildings influenced several generations of young artists who studied there. Loomis’ book is an affirmation of Cuban culture and the highest values of the human spirit.”
Ricardo Porro

“Revolution of Forms might indeed be the beginning of an ‘architectural novel,’ a vivid narrative of how architecture can encapsulate and reveal a moment in history. It is a refreshing book to read or examine, for it unfolds, in words an images, the kind of complexities and passions that underlie any significant architectural enterprise.”
Harvard Design Magazine