• Robert Hebert

Looking for The Light – “God is in the Details”

While walking about, I have run into people, buildings, animals, and even my own family. My daughters spent much of their childhood asking “Papa, what are you looking at?” The answer? I am “Looking for the Light” – or taking in the details. Architecture encompasses ALL the senses, and the four generally accepted dimensions of space and time. A Church is vibrantly different on Christmas morning when full of people, the choir is singing, sunlight falls thru the stained glass windows, and the smell of incense wafts overhead versus mid-week, midnight, empty, only the sound of one’s breathing, moonlight barely peeking thru the oculus, while the dank smell of moist stone penetrates your nostrils. Same building, same Architecture, VERY different feeling / user experience. God is in the Details.

In Ephesus God is in the Details

Me, Rob, looking thru a small broken hole in this Stone “Sidewalk” at Ephesus. There was a HUGH “tunnel/passage” below. Sorry, I was unable to get a photo.


Therefore, as an Architect I have an interest in learning the How and Why to create, perhaps manipulate, the user experience. I wander around with my head looking up, down, and sideways. Looking into windows, doors, even holes in an ancient stone sidewalk. What follows is a not so well organized glimpse into the Light, Into the Details my wife and I saw on a recent Vacation to Cuba. I hope you enjoy. AND I hope you start to look up, down, right, left, near far, in the light, in the dark, into noisy spaces full of people, and empty spaces devoid of light, sound, and inhabitants. Please share your favorites on our Facebook Page.

The following gallery contains images that are simply strange or unusual. Sometimes what we see is only strange to US – like a power plant belching smoke in the center of the City (Havana). Other times we all question WHY and WHAT? And then there is the Pyramid Tomb of Architect Jose F. Mata – and we nod in appreciation and understanding.

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EVERYONE can appreciate a “good detail”. But we may not always agree on the definition of a “detail”. The gallery below contains details we will ALL agree are “good”, and pretty. These are the custom flourishes that were SO common, but we no longer can afford. If you have an observant (ADD?) eye you might notice many of these are square “Instagram” images. Like em? Follow us on Instagram.

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Many of the photos, above, are from the Ferrer Palace. It is a spectacular building, built by José Ferrer ( a merchant) and designed by architect Donato Paul. It was built 1917/1918. The palace has on its roof an elegant dining room which allows fantastic views of the nearby harbor. See more in this video from our YouTube Channel.


Some may ask “how” did you see that? “Where” was that? Well… when you Travel Like an Architect you GO EXPLORING. You step into places even if the sign doesn’t say “open”. You look Up, Down, and around. My children can tell you that sometimes it can be embarrassing (for them) – as Papa lays, face up, on the floor of the church CENTERED under the dome.

Lynn walks around looking at the ground. AND she takes photos of streets, sidewalks, floors, FEET, and whatever else graces the ground. Just be careful, walk slow, and take it all in. Cuba has some GORGEOUS floors. Cuba is the birthplace of the Encaustic Cement tile floor, referred to as “losa hidráulica”. To learn more about this unique building material, < click here >.

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But don’t spend all your time looking at the ground. You have to also look up, UP, U P !

The Architectural Environment is not all pretty buildings and finishes. It is also the utilitarian elements that form our impressions of a place. The following gallery showcases everything from light poles to stairs to manholes. And Cuba has some of the most UNUSUAL utility structures I have seen ANYWHERE.

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My YOUNG daughters would have told you I am obsessed or pre-occupied with Architectural Elements. My now GROWN / young adult daughters have joined the cause. They now SEND me emails, texts, and facebook posts of fun, artsy, interesting, and unique Architectural Elements. They always like and appreciated them. They just had not learned to pick out the individual elements from their surroundings. The gallery below features elements, such as balconies, railings, and doors that bring life to an otherwise bland, flat, and static structure.

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Looking for Light – “God is in the Details”. Attributed to German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, this statement says that whatever one does, one should do thoroughly. Mies is considered one of the founders of modern architecture. And Cuba is NO stranger to this movement. Expressive buildings made of metal, steel and concrete co-exist among the older Caribbean architecture of another century. The gallery below is a short glimpse into the Cuba I did not expect to see.

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Stop looking for the light – BECOME it. To BECOME it – travel, see, and experience the world. Look Up. Look Down. Look inside and out. Visit crowded spaces, and empty places. Go in the Dark, and return in the light. God is in the Details – learn to see them.


God is in the details

Lynn caught me finding the light. God is in the detail – and the photograph.


Rob and Lynn Belles are seasoned travelers and Cruises Inc. Travel Agents

Gathering up the best experiences on Earth to share with you

for the purpose of inspiring you to go into the world with peace and kindness and learn all about the rest of humanity………..

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