Home > Profiles > Architect: Robert Towell

Architect: Robert Towell

Founder and Principle Chartered Architect of Robert Towell Architect Ltd. in the Cayman Islands, Robert (RIBA) shares his firm's diverse portfolio of projects, his thoughts on the ever-changing industry and a few of his favourite things.

RL: Why did you choose to become an architect?

RT: As a young boy my parents guided me towards architecture or engineering because I was really good at creating and designing projects. When I graduated from Ryerson University’s Architecture Programme, I was hired by a small highly design-driven practice in Toronto where I had the fortune of working on many impressive, unique and varied projects, which was fundamental in establishing a solid foundation for my later years as a Chartered Architect.


Turning_Torso_Santiago_CalatravaRL: Describe your design aesthetic and how it has evolved.

RT: One of my earliest projects was a large custom designed house for a prominent art collector. The home had a modern-style flat roof, the rooms were filled with original 21st century artwork, and the home was constructed using a fiberglass exterior panel envelope resembling oversized limestone blocks. The property was adjacent to some of the largest and oldest homes in Toronto and its design aesthetic certainly made a statement. While I appreciate many styles, I really have a passion for modern and contemporary design. I realise that while not everyone shares this view, I enjoy that there are so many ways to express architectural beauty.

RL: What are you working on at present?

RT: The firm currently has a variety of private single-family custom homes, which should commence construction in early 2012. Recently, with Davenport Development Ltd., we designed and unveiled some modern canal and beachfront homes that have received positive reviews and offer unique options for the discriminating buyer. We are also working on a new Butterfield Bank branch in town, a couple of proposed restaurants, a beach resort club and we just completed the new Penha Perfume and MAC cosmetics retail stores. In addition, we have a number of renovation projects with owners who have chosen to upgrade their properties rather than move.

RL: What is your proudest achievement?

RT: From a family perspective, I have a very supportive wife and wonderful children. From a personal perspective, the establishment of my business that has contributed more than 20 years of industry experience, professional advice and guidance to a varied range of design projects in the Cayman Islands and abroad. Most of all, I am happy to be able to balance my work and island lifestyle.


RL: What are the biggest challenges you face as an architect in the Caribbean?

RT: As global warming continues, Architects and Engineers find themselves having to design buildings that can withstand the everchanging weather conditions. While many Caribbean countries have advantages (such as higher grou nd), those on low-lying islands have found it imperative to elevate their buildings to minimise damages. Increased hurricane activity and fuel costs have resulted in an increase in regional building costs, which in turn affect an Architect’s designs as well as create major challenges with regard to client budgets.


1. Architect

Barcelona_ChairSpanish modernist, Santiago Calatrava, who combines artistry with engineering.

2. Furniture

The Barcelona chair designed by Mies Van Der Rohe in 1929. A classic yet modern piece of furniture.

3. Design Tool

Music inspires me in every aspect of design. It sets the mood and helps the creative imagination.

4. Appliance

Without hesitation, my Rancilio Silvia Espresso machine with matching coffee grinder.

5. Artist

My 13 year-old daughter’s artwork and her mastery of colour.

6. Car

Bugatti Veyron in black and red.


7. Hotel

W Hotel – one of my design favourites.

8. Food & drink

Ron Zacapa (30 yr old) Guatemalan Rum with a Filet Mignon.

9. Book

“Chinamerica” by Handel Jones.

10. Holiday

My son’s fourth birthday in Nosara, Costa Rica and summers at the family cottage in Northern Ontario.

Name four people (alive or deceased) you would
invite to a dinner party and why.

Athlete: Wayne Gretzky – great to watch and a good guy.

Actor: Robin Williams because he is just insane.

Politician: Bill Clinton because he was a cool president.

Family: Either deceased parent would be great.

To learn more, visit: www.RobertTowell.com

comments powered by Disqus

Read More

Beyond Electric Avenue - Eddy Grant

Eddy Grant's Return to Plaisance

Read More

Lydia Uzzell, Interior Designer, Cayman Islands

A love of adventure brought Lydia Uzzell to Cayman's shores and an obsession with design l...

Read More

Jill for a Moment, Jill Palmer of No. 11 Spa, Cayman Islands

After 15 years working in the beauty industry Jill Palmer launched her own holistic medica...

Read More

Mikki Chin of OBMI Cayman - Powered by Passion

Mikhail, known to most as Mikki, is the Senior Architect at OBM International (OBMI) and i...

Read More

Reaching New Heights - Mike Stroh, Trio Architecture

From fitting out ice cream stores and hair salons in Miami to designing ten-storey luxury...

Read More

The Effervescent Rosemary Parkinson

The award-winning author and creative force behind a series of books on Caribbean culinary...

Read More

The Distinctive Style of Piet Boon

The work of influential Dutch designer Piet Boon, whose 'total concept' designs encompass...

Read More

John Ryan of Kohler

John is the Vice President, Sales and General Manager, Professional Channel, Kitchen & Bat...

Read More

Anna Rose Washburn of Marksons Furniture & Windows

Born and raised in Cayman, Anna Rose Washburn, Owner and Managing Director at Marksons Fur...

Read More