Modern, contemporary and ultra-modern architecture in the Cayman Islands
Words by Kel Ebanks
As a dynamic and forward-thinking country, the Cayman Islands have begun to settle in to a somewhat new, but steady trend of building modern, contemporary, and, more recently, ultra-modern architectural designs (described hereafter as MCU). These newer homes are being seen throughout the ever-changing landscape of the island and are often quite polarizing and misunderstood.
MCU, with its clean lines and minimalist feel, is quite different from traditional builds and seemingly attracts a never-ending curiosity from those looking from afar.
With much consideration given to the flow of the home, the site lines, capturing of views, features, function, lighting, and the overall mood and feel it projects, it could easily be said that a well-designed and built MCU home projects a level of real allure.
So, what does modern, contemporary, and ultra-modern mean anyway? There are some variations and overlapping descriptions amongst architects and industry professionals, however, below are a few descriptions that will help:
Developed in the 20th century after World War II, modern architecture involved the use of new building technologies such as steel, reinforced concrete and a more prevalent use of glass or fenestration. Famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and iconic buildings like the Sydney Opera House in Australia set the standards to which many architects aspire to achieve today.
Born in the 21st century, contemporary architecture breaks away somewhat from modern architecture as it is defined and does not have a particularly recognisable style. The use of turns, curves, various shapes and often computer-aided designs, are some of the reasons for the very unique conceptual or expressionist designs, which are more typically found in commercial, government or art spaces. In fact, contemporary architecture can be loosely defined as the current style of the year, decade, etc.
As imagined, ultra-modern has its roots in modern architecture. Although there are several different perspectives on its true meaning, it is safe to say that it is part of the post-modern architecture style with more distinctive styling such as larger spans of glass, minimalist approaches, cantilevered decks and balconies, angled walls and the like. It is essentially modern, but simply done in an ultra, or maybe extreme sort of way.
From a construction standpoint, MCU designs and styles present challenges for builders and industry professionals. Keeping up with new types of structural and interior demand changes are imperative in the methodical world of construction.
Despite these demands, and judging from the successfully completed MCU homes and buildings found on island, it certainly seems that they have conquered those challenges.
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