Soaking Up the Sun

We have a surplus of sunny skies here in the Caribbean. This simple fact has long captured the imagination of architects, environmentalists and property owners and led us to the dream of powering our homes, schools and places of work with solar energy.

A Contemporary Vernacular

A contemporary architectural idiom that reflects the traditional vernacular, character, climate and culture of a place is an interesting challenge. For many architects this is the Holy Grail, allowing a freedom of “modern” design but being duly respectful of context. 

Building Technology: At the Intersection of Piping, Wiring, and Concrete

Every region of the world has a ‘typical’ form of construction.  This may vary between residential and commercial construction but normally reflects climatic conditions and resource availability.  In the Caribbean, over the last twenty (20) years or so, the ‘typical’ form of construction has become reinforced concrete block. 

Earth-Sheltered Architecture

Earth sheltering can be defined as the architectural practice of using earth against building walls for external thermal mass, to reduce heat loss, and to naturally preserve a steady indoor air temperature. Earth sheltering is popular today among advocates of passive solar and sustainable architecture; we can notice this practice as far back as humans have been creating their own dwellings. In fact, having the walls of a building against the earth also helps prevent heat gain from solar radiation.

Commercial and Institutional Design: Maintaining Sensitivity to Climate

Commercial and institutional buildings in the Caribbean have become less adapted to climate and environment in recent decades.  We have gradually seen the advent of the air-conditioned, sealed box sometimes decorated with “traditional” elements as the standard model for office design.