This work illustrates the contribution of flood risk assessment and adaptation to set up a conservation management plan for a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture. Case study is the iconic complex, internationally known as the National Art Schools of Cuba. It consists of five buildings built in the early 1960s within a park of Habana next to the Caribbean Sea. The path of the river (Rio Quibù) crossing the estate was modified to fit the landscape design. The complex has then been exposed to the risk of flooding. The School of Ballet, located in a narrow meander of the river, slightly upstream of a bridge and partially obstructing the flow, is particularly subject to frequent flash floods from the Rio Quibù, and it needs urgent restoration. Keeping ISA Modern is a project aimed at preserving the Schools complex. Based upon in situ surveys on the Rio Quibù and local area measurements during 2019, numerical modelling, and previous work by the Cuban National Institute of Hydraulic Resources, we pursued a flood risk analysis for the area, and a preliminary analysis of available risk reduction strategies. Using HEC-RAS 2D software for hydraulic modelling, we evaluated the flooded area and the hydraulic conditions (flow depth, velocity) for floods with given return periods. Our results show that SB is a building most subject to flooding, with high levels of risk. Defense strategies as designed by Cuban authorities may include a (new) wall around the School of Ballet and widening of the river channel, with high impact and cost, although not definitive. Temporary, light, permanent, and low cost/impact flood proofing structures may be used with similar effectiveness. We demonstrate that relatively little expensive hydraulic investigation may aid flood modelling and risk assessment in support of conservation projects for historically valuable sites. This may support brainstorming and the selection of (low to high cost) adaptation and risk reduction measures in the coastal areas of Cuba in response to ever increasing extreme storms and sea level rise controlling flood dynamics under transient climate change.
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