Carter Manny Award

  • Designing Destinations: Hotel Architecture, Urbanism, and American Tourism in Puerto Rico and Cuba since 1898
    Erica Morawski

Toro, Ferrer, and Torregrosa, Caribe Hilton, 1949, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Courtesy: Hospitality Industry Archives, Conrad Hilton College, University of Houston.

Erica Morawski, University of Illinois at Chicago, Art History, is the recipient of the 2011 Carter Manny Research Award.

From the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898 to 1960 the urban centers of San Juan, Puerto Rico and Havana, Cuba witnessed major tourism development. Through an examination of hotel design—from architecture and interior design to landscaping and urban planning—Erica Morawski argues that the built environment of tourism was a powerful tool in shaping power relationships between the United States, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Through case studies, the dissertation investigates hotel design as a significant instrument in the continuous construction and negotiation of cultural exchange and identity, which were defined through such notions as tropicality, modernity, and the historic. Employing a transnational approach, the study traces the influence of these hotels on such places as Miami and Las Vegas to underscore architecture’s role as a powerful form of communication between countries and present a richer, more inclusive history between the US and the Caribbean.

Erica Morawski is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She specializes in the history of architecture and design of the United States and the Caribbean. She holds an MA in art history from the University of Texas at Austin and graduated magna cum laude from Tulane University. Morawski has taught on American art, the history of interiors and architecture, and art history at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Harrington College of Design.