Hometown Glory - Camana Bay
It would seem that times are achanging once again and the soulful lyrics of Harry Belafonte’s classic reprieve, “Daylight come and me wan’ go home,” echo the sentiments of a nostalgic society’s aspirations to return to some traditional values of the past. In this busy twenty-first century Caribbean, where global mobility is the new norm, a ‘wherever-I-lay-my-hat’ mentality has turned ‘home’ into an out-modish concept leaving people feeling adrift. However, it appears ‘a change is gonna come’ in the form of Camana Bay’s latest residential offering: the opportunity not just to buy a house, but to lay down the roots of a place called home.
Cognisant of the essential interface between human behaviour and the socio-physical environment, the compact, master-planned community that is Camana Bay is pioneering a new order of business in the Caribbean, issuing a decree for the return of human values to architecture as means of building heart back into the core of the residential experience. With forty percen t of its five hundred acres dedicated to open water and green space, Camana Bay’s mission is to recapture the spirit of home; to reignite the vibrancy and intimacy of small town living and to instil delight and conviviality into the bricks and mortar of community life.
Long before the town centre was sketched into being or residential plans were a twinkle in designers’ eyes, the Camana Bay nursery began propagating native trees and shrubs, mindful of the importance of mature landscaping to creating power of place. Elemental in design and inspired by the natural harmonics encapsulated in a host of the most enduring and alluring seaside and port towns around the world, work began on setting the anchors to a new liveable community. “It was important to provide established, welcoming and attractive areas from the get-go – places where people could gather and relax,” explains John Hillman, Director of Sales. “We want every neighbourhood to feel like it has been there forever.”
Providing a community heart, the vibrant pedestrian town centre pulses with life. Buy a book or read a book; bring lunch or buy lunch… here, life comes with no agenda, bar what Hillman coins, ‘lingerability.’ A skeleton network of cool tree-lined streets, bicycle paths and walking trails offer a gateway to work, rest and play, ushering in a new lifestyle aimed at reviving the culture of the street. Here, families picnic on the green; children explore the island; couples stroll along the boardwalk and office workers spill out into the many restaurants and bars lining The Crescent.
Using this spirited canvas as its backdrop, Camana Bay’s diverse residential release provides options to suit every need, desire and pocketbook from single-family dwellings, condominiums and quaint cottages to courtyard and town homes – all with access to the Neverland of the North Sound and the world famous Seven Mile Beach. Echoing aspects of the local vernacular, contemporary interpretations delivered up by a host of design elite from amongst others Torti Gallas and Partners, Martinez and Alvarez Architects and The Burns Conolly Group conspire to create intimate, mixed-use enclaves, all just moments away from a bustling town centre. Rooted in the principles of New Urbanism, shady overhangs, private courtyards and spacious porches become recurring motifs, with homes creatively clustered to enhance the space in between. Texture, scale and order become pivotal elements of design, succeeding keenly in returning artistry to the heart of architecture.
Condominium villages centre around four large plantation style homes reminiscent of the striking traditional great houses of yesteryear. With a lively aesthetic and innovative efficiency, designs incorporate underground parking and private lap pools ensconced in lush vegetation. From skyline to grassline, neighbourhoods interconnect symbiotically, with each district retaining an autonomous and noticeable personality. Tuck-under town homes, with gracious living areas spilling out onto expansive parks and commons, feature wide front porches that greet the street with private living quarters above offering the privacy of elevated vistas. Here, outdoor rooms complement interior landscapes: two bedroom mews with cantilevered bal conies, quintessential Caribbean cottages with charming concealed gardens or private courtyard homes whose pools, secreted away down gated alleyways, offer bursts of tantalising aqua – all provide relief and interest to the streetscape.
Inspired by the sentiment of novelist Wallace Stegner who said, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are,” gifts to the street come in the form of intimate focal points that issue a welcome note to all the lives that will play out in these very spots: customised ironwork detailing, sculptures and water features and special shade trees in whose branches children will lose themselves in play; whose roots will run deep for generations to come and in whose trunks lovers will carve their names. If surroundings really do shape our thoughts, and feelings are grounded in physical space, the placemakers at Camana Bay are building a stage where human drama is free to play out. “By shaping a landscape of engagement, we want to create opportunities for lives to directly and indirectly intersect,” says Hillman. “Appearances are not enough. There has to be wisdom in the design.”
Winston Churchill observed, “We shape our buildings, and thereafter our buildings shape us.” With where we are ‘from’ connoting a sense of identity so essential to understanding our place in the world, Camana Bay has found what was previously lost and is now offering the return of the rare gift of belonging. More than just an address or GPS coordinate, they use space as the exciting frontier in a new breed of human settlements rooted in the traditional values held so close to the collective Caribbean heart. Daylight has come, and it is time to go home.
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