Archive for the ‘Caribbean Architecture’ Category

thinking insomniac, vernelle noel,

Building on New Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad

This is a sketch of a building on New Street in Port of Spain, Trinidad. This building is characteristic of the Caribbean tradition of using good ventilation methods like sash windows with louvres at each side. Click here for original post.

hard work

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thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, trinidad, port of spain, financial complex, eric williams, twin towers

Eric Williams Financial Complex in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Above is a negative of the Eric Williams Financial Complex in Port of Spain, Trinidad. I will be extremely busy over the next few days, so please bear with me… I also have paintings to catch up on… Thank you for continuing to visit and for leaving comment. Much appreciated!

TI.

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Piarco Airport, Trinidad, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, architecture

Piarco Airport, Trinidad (Part of the Building)

Above is a quick sketch I did of part of the Piarco Airport in Trinidad that I could see out the airplane window as I was about to leave…

A major expansion of the airport, which included the construction of a new terminal building, and high-speed taxiways, was completed in 2001. The old airport building is currently used for cargo handling. The control tower at the old terminal building is currently used for air traffic control. The tower at the new terminal building is used for ramp control and runway movement control. A new nine-story control tower is under construction, with radar unlike the existing one, it is scheduled to open in 2010. An expression of some of the array of services offered at Piarco International Airport. The new North Terminal consists of 387,110 sq ft. of building with 14 second-level aircraft gates for international flights and 2 ground level domestic gates. The overall layout of the building consists of three main elements: a landside core structure, a single level duty free shopping mall, and a 2-level ‘Y’ shaped concourse. 100-foot (30 m) cathedral ceilings and glass walls provide passengers and other visitors to the North Terminal with a sense of open space and magnificent views of the Piarco savannah and the nearby Northern mountain range. The public atrium has the largest glass dome in the Caribbean.

The airport layout consists of one main terminal building which includes three concourses. The disused south terminal has been renovated into a VIP terminal for the Summmit of The Americas. The North terminal has also received additional remote parking stands. In November 2009, upgrades on the south terminal were completed and the area now serves as a private/executive jet facility for high-end travellers. The Airport underwent expansion and renovation works in preparation for the Commonwealth Heads Of Government summit in November 2009. These improvements included:

  • Repaving and repainting of the taxiways.
  • Re-painting of the runway.
  • Installation of new Taxiway and runway lighting.

Source: Wikipedia

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

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city gate, port pf spain, trinidad, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

Sketch of the inside of City Gate in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Above is an of the interior sketch of Trinidad’s main bus terminal, City Gate in Port of Spain. It is located at South Quay, Port of Spain and it is the hub for public transport between the capital city and outlying towns and villages.

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, le corbusier, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

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Milner Hall, UWI, negative, trinidad, architecture, drawing, art, design, sketch, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

Milner Hall - UWI, Trinidad

Above is a negative of Milner Hall at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad. Click here for more on Milner Hall.

I can’t find my paintbrush, so I hope to go get some today…

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

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St Mary's church, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, architecture, art, drawing, sketch

St. Mary's Anglican Church - Tacarigua, Trinidad

This is a negative of the St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Tacarigua, Trinidad. I have been a bit busy over the past few days since my move… I have been able to get some sketching done, but I want to paint them before posting them.. hence the delay. You can stay informed of my activities via my Visual Journals on Flickr.

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, drawing, art, design, sketch

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Old Fire Brigade Headquarters, Trinidad, colin laird, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

The Old Fire Brigade Headquarters, Trinidad

This is the third day of my dedication to my mentor, friend, and fellow Trinidadian architect Colin Laird, for his contribution to the art of architecture, the profession of architecture, and to the Caribbean’s built environment. Above is a drawing of TheOld Fire Brigade Headquarters in Port of Spain. It was part of the National Library Project… the existing Fire Brigade Headquarters was restored.

“It (Old Fire Brigade Headquarters) is a precious part of our scarce building patrimony and its coarse Victorian presence deserves to be meticulously renovated to its former glory. The original building is in the form of an L shape along Abercromby Street and Hart Street with the distinctive tower power at the junction of the two wings…The 45 degree cant of the Fire Brigade Headquarters Tower within the strict rectangular grid of the area, significantly continues the diagonal path pattern across Woodford Square…emphasizing the importance of the pedestrian traffic to urban communication… This Proposal celebrates the Old Headquarters, or rather its skewed Tower, as an important element of the National Library within the whole composition of the Woodford Square District.” (Colin Laird Associates Technical Proposal for the National Library, 1998).

Previous Post on The Old Fire Brigade Headquarters, Trinidad >>>

Old Fire Brigade Headquarters, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, colin laird

Old Fire Brigade Headquarters and National Library

This is one of my favorite buildings in Trinidad & Tobago. The architecture is rich, recognizing and respecting of our culture, beautiful, poetic, and contemporary. It develops a vocabulary rooted in the genius loci (spirit of place) of the site, and Trinbagonian life. Colin, you are a master builder, designer, mentor, professional, and true friend!

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking inomniac, vernelle noel

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the lion house, trinidad, chaguanas, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, colin laird, architecture

The Lion House - Drawn by Colin Laird

This is the second day of my dedication to Trinidadian architect Colin Laird, for his contribution to the art of architecture, the profession of architecture, and to the Caribbean’s built environment. Above is a drawing of The Lion House in Chaguanas, Trinidad done by him. In April 1991 Surendranath Capildeo retained the services of Colin Laird Associates to advise on and supervise the restoration of the Lion House. The Lion House stands today because of the dedicated work of Architect Colin Laird and Restorer Glen Espinet.

This internationally famous house, one of the most important heritage buildings in Trinidad, reflects North Indian architecture as remembered and self-built, down to the clay bricks, by Baba. It has since been immortalized as the Hanuman House in Vidya Naipaul’s “House for Mr. Biswas.” The house on Main Street, Chaguanas, the ancestral home of the Capildeo family, was restored by Suren Capildeo, Naipaul’s cousin. The house is also preserved in paint by artist, Adrian Camps-Campin.  “Among the tumbledown timber-and-corrugated iron buildings in the High Street at Arwacas, Hanuman House looked like an alien white fortress,” Naipaul wrote. The house was built by Naipaul’s maternal grandfather, Pundit Capildeo, who arrived in Trinidad, aged 21, as an indentured labourer on board the Hereford in 1894.  He came from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, India and his destination was Woodford Lodge estate, Chaguanas.

Within months of his arrival, it was arranged that he should marry the Trinidad-born Soogee Gobin, whose family was well established in the area.  The Gobins, who owned a shop, paid off Capildeo’s bond and as a wedding gift they gave the young couple the land on which the Lion House stands.  Soogee ran a store there while her husband carried out his priestly duties, and in 1923 they began to build the Lion House.  Built in the north Indian style, the trapezoid-shaped house is unique in local architecture.  It has walls almost a foot thick, and Pundit Capildeo is said to have made with his own hands all the bricks used in its construction.  The house contains lot of decorative plasterwork, with figures and patterns embossed on or etched into the walls, and several rooms feature mirror work.

The store occupied the ground floor of the four-storey building, and the family lived above it.  The third floor is taken up by a prayer room, and from the flat roof there is a panoramic view of the canefields of the Caroni plains and the hills of he Central Range.  The lions that gave the house its name stand at each end of the wall around the first-floor gallery.  Vidya Naipaul was born here in 1932 to Pundit Capildeo’s daughter Droapatie and her husband Seepersad Naipaul, but he never knew his grandfather.  Pundit Capildeo died in 1926 while on his fourth visit to India.  His widow, Soogee, became the head of the family.  A strong-minded woman, she had over-ruled her husband’s reluctance to send their children to school, which he regarded as a corrupting Christianising influence.  Thanks to Soogee, even the girls attended school and learned to speak, read and write English.

Soogee bought properties in Woodbrook and travelled to Port of Spain every week to take care of her son, Rudranath, who was to become a university lecturer and politician, while he attended Queen’s Royal College.  It was for the sake of access to better schools that in 1940 Soogee moved the whole family to Port of Spain.  After that, the Lion House was rented out or stood vacant, and fell into disrepair.  When eventually it was renovated, it was with no respect for its original style and structure.  In 1998, however Suren Capildeo, the son of Soogee and Pundit Capildeo’s son, Simbhoonath, has repainted it white and restored the grandeur of the Lion House, which stands as a monument to the indentured Indian labourers.

Sources: http://www.nalis.gov.tt

http://www.thelionhouse.com/

Abstract Architecture of the day:

Abstract Architecture, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, milton glaser

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Audrey Jeffers House, Sweet Briar House, colin laird, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, architecture, port of spain, trinidad st. clair

South Elevation of Audrey Jeffers House (Drawing by Colin Laird)

Above is a drawing of the Audrey Jeffers House a.k.a Sweet Briar House (a three-story, stuccoed, late Victorian house built by the first black resident in St. Clair) by my mentor Colin Laird. The house belonged to an honorable, giving woman and was drawn here by wonderful, giving man.

Firstly, who was Audrey Jeffers? Audrey Jeffers was a woman who worked very hard for the under-privileged people of Trinidad & Tobago. She gave of her time and efforts freely to help others have an easier life. Born into an upper middle class family on Baden-Powell Street, Woodbrook, on the 12th February, 1898, she did not let that deter her from her mission in life; to work for the upliftment of the under-privileged, to dedicate her efforts in their service. She could not accept that some people could live in such good circumstances whilst for the vast majority misery and depression were the order of the day. In 1921 along with young women who shared her vision, Audrey formed the ‘Coterie of Workers,’ a women’s organization for black and colored middle class women. In the opening address, Ms. Jeffers stated: “Our aim is not to copy man, no sensible woman ever wants to do that, but it is rather to see womanly and courageous women, honest-minded and good, making themselves an intelligent counterpart for men.”  During her student years in Britain, Jeffers had been one of the founders of the Union of Students of African Descent, later the League of Colored Peoples. During World War I she had served among the West African troops and started a West African Soldiers.

Who is Colin Laird? Colin Laird is in my opinion the best architect in Trinidad and Tobago, and one of the most generous persons I know. In early 1997, I met and started training with Colin Laird after using the Brian Lara Promenade as a case study for one of my classes.  Colin taught me about professionalism, ethics, good design, and writing.  His proposals read like poetry! I remember asking him what classes he took to learn to write like that… pure poetry I tell you. This poetry is visible in his writings, his love of music, his drawings, and his buildings. I will dedicate the next days posts to Colin, thanking him for his contribution to the art of architecture, the profession of architecture, and to the Caribbean’s built environment. He has given so much to so many people, and continues to today. Colin, you’re the best and a bookmark in my life!

References:
Caribbean Women Writers: Essays from the First International Conference. Contributors: Selwyn Reginald Cudjoe

Trinidad Guardian >>>

Abstract Architecture of the day:

Abstract Architecture, ralph waldo emerson, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

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whitehall, port of spain, trinidad, drawing, sketch, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, art, watercolor, architecture, magnificent seven, trinidad

Whitehall - Port of Spain, Trinidad

Moleskine sketchbook, ink pens, & watercolors

This is a sketch of Whitehall in Port of Spain, Trinidad. This is the fifth sketch I have done thus far of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ (a series of mansions by the Queen’s Park Savannah). The Henderson family acquired this building known as Whitehall in 1910 from William Gordon Gordon after foreclosure on Joseph Leon Agostini and lived there until 1941. They vacated it that year to give way to the U. S. Armed Forces who commandeered Whitehall for Army Headquarters.

It was used by the Americans until V.E. Day in 1944 and handed back to the Hendersons; they never returned to the building. Instead it was leased in that same year to the British Council. Whitehall also housed the Central Library, Eastern Caribbean Regional Library, The Trinidad Art Society and the Cellar Club. In 1954 the building was sold to the Trinidad Government for $123,000. In 1957 the Trinidad Government agreed to lend the building rent-free too the then Federal Government of the West Indies as temporary headquarters. Today Whitehall accommodates the Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

J. Newel Lewis, one of the nation’s renowned architects, described the building as a white wedding cake because of the most unusual feature – a parapet to hide the roof. It presents a regular but undulating facade, tactile, inviting and seductive, surrounded by a white wall of appropriate design set off by a huge, dark parasol-like samaan tree. Whitehall was designed by its first owner in Corsican style with Venetian influence, and built by James Moore a builder from Barbados. Moore employed natural white sandstone imported from that island, in the construction. Besides the roof which was completed in 1910, the rest of the building took from 1902 to 1904 to construct, at a cost of around $80,000. It was the largest of the four private residences along the stretch of Maraval Road, opposite the savannah.

Over the years, Whitehall has undergone considerable renovation because of its conversion to a Government building, and the rooms have been partitioned into offices. This has undoubtedly detracted from its original beauty. However, a reasonable degree of the preservation of the original architecture still remains. Whitehall was built on an elaborate scale – three storeys high, a garden on the roof, six bedrooms four reception halls, a center room, dining room, library, large front and other galleries, porches, sweeping marble steps, patio, and a host of minor rooms like kitchen, pantry, etc., in keeping with a style of living which has disappeared from Trinidad. In the interior were long corridors. On the first floor, a dining room, said to have been done by Agostini’s daughters, Stella and Blanche, was paneled with local cyp and mahogany, carved to represent nutmeg and cocoa. The French style drawing room was decorated in wedgewood blue. Each of the large bedroom suites was meant for one of the Agostini daughters.

Whitehall, vernelle noel, trinidad, port of spain, thinking insomniac, architecture

Whitehall, Port of Spain, Trinidad (Photo taken in 2006)

When the Hendersons took over Whitehall, the dining room was decorated in the German style of the period, and in it hung four large canvasses of rural scenes. Its walls were covered with an imported wallpaper with a raised pomegranate design meant to represent leather. This paper has now been painted over, but the raised design is still visible. On the upper floor were the bedroom suites with dressing rooms attached. The plumbing was advanced for the time; there were marble-surrounded wash basins and baths, and an unusual ‘needle point’ shower of a design not seen today. Above the bedroom was a vast attic and storeroom, and still further up, was the room on the roof known as the Blue Room. From the Blue Room, one could walk onto the balustraded roof and obtain a panoramic view of Port of Spain. It used to be possible to climb onto the roof of the Blue Room until 1954, at which time it was condemned. It was replaced by a galvanized roof, and the steps were removed.

In the basement were the wine cellars; wine was imported by the cask in those days, and bottled on the premises. The kitchen, pantry, serving rooms and the tiled breakfast room decorated in German style were also part of the basement. A small service lift connected this floor and the upper floors. The stables, coach-house and servants’ quarters were located outside. The hitching post and remains of the horse trough are still to be seen. In the grounds stood a large bronze bell which the Hendersons’ had brought from Venezuela. At one time, there was some discussion about retaining Whitehall as a Cultural Center. Some thought that it would have been ideal as a venue for cultural clubs, and a place to hold small concerts and exhibitions. This has not materialized, and although it now houses the Office of the Head of Government of the nation, it is part of Trinidad’s past that is worthy of preservation.

Source: http://www.nalis.gov.tt

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, roland heiler

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