Architects Shaping the Caribbean
Designing buildings, whether homes or workplaces, recreational or civic spaces, is a both a privilege and a responsibility: when architects dream up an edifice, they are creating something where there was nothing and, in so doing, they are irrevocably altering the natural landscape.
Words by Natasha Were
Yet in giving substance to a vision, and creating a building that answers to the needs of the people, the climate and the demands of the times, they are also developing much more than a building - they are creating a style that will in future come to be recognised as representative of that region or period in history. The following architects are shaping the Caribbean of the 21st century.
R.A. SHAW DESIGNS LTD.
R.A. Shaw Designs Ltd. has built its reputation on building dreams. Established in Turks and Caicos (TCI) in 1998, the full service design-construction firm specialises in luxury residential projects that embrace tropical living at its best.
Uninspired by the industrial and commercial designs that launched his career, founder Ron Shaw changed course 18 years ago, realising his true passion lay in designing residential villas, large and small. Not satisfied with the quality of construction he was seeing in TCI, Shaw then established his own project management and construction firm, making R.A. Shaw Designs the only single source design-build firm in TCI.
Staffed by a team of talented designers and skilled craftsmen, R.A. Shaw Design's attention to detail in every project is unparalleled, ensuring quality, precision and ultimate functionality.
His designs, which include the award-winning 30,000 square foot Emerald Cay project and a 14,000 square foot Asian-style home currently under construction, have earned him ample press coverage and a number of awards for architecture and design.
Shying away from subscribing to any particular style, Shaw prefers to take the time to identify his clients' true preferences and tailors the design to their tastes. This ability to listen and form solid relationships with his clients has earned him contracts not only throughout the islands of TCI but also in The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands and as far afield as Mauritius.
To learn more, please visit: www.rashawdesigns.com
Despite having offices around the globe today, no matter where OBM International's visionaries, designers and architects may be working, their intent remains the same as that set out by its Bermudian founders almost 80 years ago: to create a sense of place.
The oldest and largest architectural firm in the region, OBM International is firmly rooted in the Caribbean and, having trained or employed much of the talent in the region, is proud to have played a central role in raising the bar for architecture across the islands.
With a multitude of awards for both residential and commercial projects, including the Robb Report's Best of the Best award for The Cliffs at Oil Nut Bay, BVI, OBM International are undisputed leaders in design excellence, something they attribute to a combination of technical know-how and passion for the profession.
Each and every project, regardless of location, scale or style, takes into account the history, culture and environment of the site, so that the final end will be an experience, a destination with a story all its own.
To learn more, please visit: www.obmi.com
SPRINGLINE ARCHITECTS, LLC
Springline Architects, LLC has been creating spaces to live, work and play since 2002. One of the largest design-build firms in the US Virgin Islands, and now licensed to practice in the British Virgin Islands, Springline was founded when St. Thomas-based independent architects Tracy Roberts, Mike de Haas and Kevin Qualls decided to pool their talents and varying areas of expertise.
In the ensuing 12 years, the partners' different backgrounds have enabled the firm to take on all manner of projects ranging from renovations of renowned resorts such USVI's Caneel Bay and The Westin St. John, to private residences, schools, churches, theatres and condominiums, some of which have been featured in publications such as Architectural Digest.
A love of the Caribbean and a respect for the natural environment run like a constant thread through every one of the firm's projects. Regardless of scale or budget, Springline aims to ensure that designs fit seamlessly into the region's landscape and are built in a manner that is socially and environmentally responsible. Staying abreast of innovations in green technologies is a priority for Springline Architects, and the firm is proud to incorporate LEED design principles into their work whenever possible. Their new architecture office, located in Smith Bay, St. Thomas, is the first building to have received a LEED Platinum certification in the territory.
To learn more, please visit: www.springlinearchitects.com
ROBERT TOWELL ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN LTD.
Photos by Mark Lewis Photography.
Sleek, simple designs that are modern yet timeless are the hallmarks of Robert Towell's architectural style. A great admirer of mid-20th century architecture, his preference is for streamlined, clean lines and an absence of intricate embellishments.
Originally from Canada, Towell spent the early years of his career working on theatre, cinema and bank projects as well as upscale residential homes in Toronto, before moving to Bermuda in 1994.
Having relocated to Grand Cayman 17 years ago, and now heading up his own firm with a large portfolio of residential and commercial projects, Towell can rightly claim to have played a part in shaping the Cayman Islands as they are today.
Towell is the creative force behind the iconic designs such as the Crystal Coves development. The luxury contemporary homes illustrate the architect's preference for sharp lines, and extensive use of glass and aluminium, integrated with tropical hardwoods and natural stone to create stylish but relaxed residences.
In addition to having recently designed the newest phase of the Morritt's resort in Grand Cayman's East End, the firm is also involved in what will be a state-of-the-art 'Minus 5 Ice Bar' in George Town - the interior of which will be made almost entirely of ice and kept at sub-zero temperatures.
To learn more, please visit: www.roberttowell.com
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