Posts Tagged ‘caribbean’

caribbean skyThis is a photo of the beautiful Caribbean sky…

pan tentThe entire country is getting ready for Carnival… I visited a pan tent in this photo. Later this evening the practice sessions will begin.

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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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.

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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:

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This work byVernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Archbishop's House in Port of Spain, Trinidad

9” x 12” Strathmore sketchbook, ink pens, & Sharpies
 

This is a sketch of The Archbishop’s House in Port of Spain, Trinidad. This is the fourth sketch I have done thus far of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ (a series of mansions by the Queen’s Park Savannah). I started to color it, then stopped to scan it, hence the colors on the left side. “The building has been described as a semi-oriental palace and in other instances, as Romanesque in style. It is the official residence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Port of Spain. The structure was built in 1903 by the fifth Archbishop of Port of Spain, Patrick Vincent Flood, at a time when the wealthy estate-owning French Creoles were building on Maraval Road. In keeping with the dignity of his office, the Archbishop thought that he would build a palatial residence. At the time of the construction of the building, when European architecture dominated the Trinidad scene, it was difficult to conceive of an oriental-influenced building. The wide open-house on both floors and the dark rooms where little natural light ever got are areas which suggest the characteristics of an oriental palace.

One reason put forward is that the house was designed by an Irish architect in Ireland who favoured Indian architecture. Construction of the building was done by George Brown of the Trinidad Trading Company. Peter Ward in his article “Buildings of Interest” in the “Studio Arts Group Magazine” of February, 1970, asserts that the structure is influenced mainly by Byzantine style and as an example, the simple basilican plan of the chapel on the south side with its sanctuary, reflected the plans of early Byzantine churches. There is also a touch of early Renaissance architecture in the building. This is evidenced by the elaborate crenellation on the top of the tower which bears medieval connotations, as well as the open medallions in the spandrels on the ground floor, despite their crude Gothic motifs.

The marble and red granite used in the building came from Ireland, and the cedar and greenheart used for the paneling, staircase and floors, were obtained locally. In 1968 extensive renovations were carried out on the building by architect Sonny Sellier, and contractor Rev. Father Kevin Devenish. After its completion in 1969, Monsignor Anthony Pantin, the first Trinidad-born Archbishop, took up residence there. The massive-looking structure, with its outhouses and lawns, takes up about an acre of land. Before renovation, whenever it rained, the verandahs got so flooded that every door in the building had to be closed. Through an archway of the wide verandah, one could get an excellent view of the savannah, and the hills of the north.

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Archbishop House, Trinidad

In the interior, on the ground floor, for example, there were only three rooms: office, library and large reception / dining room. Up a wide staircase was found the second floor which housed the conference room, winged on either side by two living apartments. In the four points of the square tower, Archbishop Flood tried to symbolise the four-square authority of the Church: one, holy, catholic and apostolic. In a room in this tower, during Archbishop Dowling’s time, a French Dominican priest stricken with leprosy, lived out the rest of his life. That was the only time the room was used. Since renovation, as one approaches the entrance, there is a Coat of Arms – the Spirit of the Holy Ghost looking down on the Three Hills of Trinidad. Underneath a cross is the motto: Omnia Omnibus (All things to all men). The interior of the building has been altered almost completely. There are glass doors opening on to the gallery.

On the ground floor are the Archbishop’s, and his secretary’s offices, the library, reception hall and dining room. The reception hall which was once partitioned from the north side to the south is now open, and the greenheart staircase which faces the main entrance can be seen. Adjoining the hall on the north side are the offices of the Archbishop and his secretary which used to be one room, and the library. There is a large mahogany suite in the dining room which is on the south side of the reception hall. The suite was presented to Archbishop Dowling by the nuns of St. Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain. What used to be the conference room above the reception hall is now a private drawing room which looks out on an open patio above the main entrance. There are two bedrooms on each side of the landing, two of the four being used as guest rooms.

Despite the renovation changes, there are still remnants of the original building. In the guest room on the south side of the landing, there is a cedar and mahogany roll-top desk which Archbishop Flood brought to the house. In the one on the north, there is a white wicker chair, also from Flood’s time, in which Archbishop Dowling was found dead one morning. One part of the architecture that remains undisturbed is the room above the open patio in the tower where the French Dominican priest who was stricken with leprosy was kept. One view is that the renovation at the Archbishop’s House has robbed it of the ‘presence’ of its original structure. It is claimed that with more careful planning, the character of the building could have been preserved.”

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

My mentor gave me some beautiful old posters that he was about to throw away. I thought I would share them with you. Click here >>>

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, drawing, sketch
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Mille Fleurs/ Prada House in Trinidad

9” x 12” Strathmore sketchbook, ink pens, & Sharpies

This is a sketch of Mille Fleurs in Port of Spain, Trinidad. This is the third of four sketches I have done thus far of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ (a series of mansions by the Queen’s Park Savannah). “Mille Fleurs” or Prada House was built in 1904, when for the first time buildings were allowed to go up on what was the former St. Clair Farm. It is situated at No. 23 Maraval Road, and while it was being built, all the other magnificent structures on that strip – except the Anglican Bishop’s residence on its western side – were either completed or in the process of completion. Dr. Enrique Prada, Mayor of Port of Spain from 1914 – 1917, was born in Venezuela in 1867 and came to Trinidad, where he was educated at St. Mary’s College. He won the Island Scholarship in 1884 and went on to study Medicine in England. He returned to Trinidad in 1892 and joined the Government Service, becoming the Government Medical Officer for a number of years. As a prominent man in the community, Prada and his wife held many social functions at “Mille Fleurs” during the time they lived there. The house was apparently built for Mrs. Enrique Prada, who gave it the name “Mille Fleurs”, which suggests it may have been surrounded by flowers.

“Mille Fleurs” is in the style of a typical town-house of the period, and its architecture may be referred to as early French Renaissance, with wrought iron fretwork, so common in houses of that kind. The Pradas sold the house in 1923 to Joseph Salvatori, and the Salvatori family occupied it until 1971. It passed on to Mrs. Pierre Lelong, who kept it for two years, and in 1973 sold it to the merchant George Matouk. Matouk never seemed to occupy it and in very recent times, owing to representations by the Government, it became public property.

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

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Mille Fleur, Trinidad (2006)

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Mille Fleur, Trinidad (2011)

Above are photos of Mille Fleur that I took in 2006 and 2011 respectively. It was carded for restoration back in 2006, and I believe it is on some sort of hold currently… 5 years later! While time passes by, the building deteriorates, and our architectural patrimony becomes an eye-sore. More than 5 years have gone by with Mille Fleurs in this sad state, and I won’t doubt it will be this way for another 5 years. Truth is, restoration costs a lot… What we have to take seriously is maintenance. If we continually maintain our projects, fixing problems as they show up… the huge costs of almost overhauling a project can be avoided. I do hope Mille Fleur, the President’s House, The Red House, Stollmeyer’s Castle and all the other deteriorating historical projects in Trinidad & Tobago are restored before they disappear. I would hate for them to end up the way we continually treat our heroes, calypsonians, historians, and educators… not paying any attention to them until they are all gone.

Click here for interview with Historic Preservation Architect Rudylynn Roberts>>>

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

3.5″ x 5″ Strathmore Sketchbook, ink pens and Sharpies

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Mount Saint Benedict, Trinidad

I am working on developing my water-coloring techniques and this is my sketch/ painting of Mount St. Benedict on the hills north of the UWI St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad.  The drive up the hills is quite amazing, with nail-biting twists and turns at times. I love the view to the site, but the view from the site is even more beautiful. The surroundings are lush, green, and quiet. I encourage you to visit, enjoy the vistas, then have a seat and listen to what quiet sounds like there… for me, quiet was the sound of leaves rustling and birds chirping. Previous post on Mt. Saint Benedict >>>

I dedicate this post to Gabi Campanario and Luis Padron who are two Urban Sketchers I admire immensely for their fantastic sketching abilities and water-coloring skills that seem so effortless. Thanks for the inspiration guys!

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

3.5″ x 5″ Strathmore Sketchbook, ink pens and Sharpies

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This work byVernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Sagicor Building in Port of Spain, Trinidad

This is Day Four of my “negative week.” Above is a sketch of the Sagicor Building around the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Original post here >>>.

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract-architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

3.5″ x 5″ Strathmore Sketchbook, ink pens and Sharpies

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This work byVernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Visual Survey of Woodford Square - Port of Spain, Trinidad

This is Day Three of my “negative week.” Above is a sketch of Woodford Square in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Original post here >>>.

Situated in the heart of the city, Woodford Square is bordered by Frederick Street on the East, Abercromby Street on the West, Hart Street on the South and Knox Street on the North. It is surrounded by some very important buildings – Trinity Cathedral on its southern side; the Town Hall, Public Library and the Hall of Justice are on the northern side; the Greyfriars Presbyterian Church is on the eastern side; while the Red House is on the western side of the Square.

In the days when Port of Spain was just a little fishing village called Conquerabia, Woodford Square was first known as the Place of Souls by the native Indians who fought a bloody battle on this open space. The St Ann’s River ran through this open space and down to the sea. The course of the river was later changed to what is today called The Dry River. The riverbed in the Place of Souls was filled up. With the coming of the French settlers to the island, they called the Place of souls – Place Des Ames. Place Des Ames means Place of souls. Place Des Ames later became known as Brunswick Square. Brunswick Square was used as a parade ground for soldiers. Many of these soldiers were Germans. Brunswick is a German name, and so it is believed that this open space was named after the German soldiers who used it.

  • 1808 – Port of Spain is on fire. The fire burns all night.

Many buildings in Port of Spain are burnt to the ground. Many persons are homeless. Tents are put up in Brunswick Square. Rebuilding of the Anglican Church begins immediately but this time in the centre of the Square. People are angry. They complain to the Governor. Work on the church in the Square is stopped. The church is removed to the corner of Hart and Abercromby Streets where it stands today. That church is Trinity Cathedral.

  • 1813 – Governor Sir Ralph Woodford arrives in Trinidad. He immediately begins rebuilding the town and lays out the square.
  • 1866 – A fountain was put I the centre of the Square. The fountain was a gift from George Gregor Turnbull of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 1892 – New heavy railings were put up around the square. These are the ones we see today.
  • 1917 – A bandstand was built and opened by Dr E. Prada, the then Mayor of Port of Spain. At the opening of the bandstand the name of the square was changed from Brunswick Square to Woodford Square in honour of the Governor Sir Ralph Woodford.
  • 1948 – Paul Robeson the famous black American singer entertained crowds in Woodford Square.
  • 1960 – Marion Anderson world famous black American singer performed in Woodford Square.
  • 1969 – Winnifred Atwell a world famous Trinidadian pianist performed in Woodford Square.

Over the year, people have called Woodford Square by different names: ‘The University of Woodford Square’, ‘The People’s Parliament’.

  • 1962 – The year of our country’s Independence another fountain in the northeastern corner of the square was built. The spot is known as the meditation corner.

Woodford Square is not only an open space, where people gather to enjoy good entertainment. Woodford Square is an open space where people go to protest their conditions of living.

  • 1903 – The then government plans to increase water rates. People are against it. While the council meets in the Red House, people gather in Woodford Square to protest.
  • 1956 – A new political party – The Peoples’ National Movement (PNM) under their political leader Dr. Eric Williams draws crowds to Woodford Square to hear him tell of his party’s plan to make Trinidad and Tobago an independent nation. He gives Woodford Square the name The University of Woodford Square.
  • 1970 – Many are without work. They are dissatisfied. They protest. Marches and demonstrations either start or end at Woodford Square.

The National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) holds meetings in Woodford Square. Their cry is power to the people, so NJAC calls Woodford Square The People’s Parliament.

Woodford Square today is an open space with beautiful tall shady trees, some over 100 years old. It now has well kept lanes criss-crossing the grass. There are benches on which you can sit. Woodford Square is an open space, which we continue to use for many different activities and purposes:

  • Political – from big political meetings to small lunch time arguments.
  • Religious – from big crusades to small prayer meetings.
  • Business – from big craft markets to a single vendor.
  • Entertainment – from big band concerts, calypso shows and carnival activities to one-man and his flute, his guitar, or his steelpan.

Reference: National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS)

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

3.5″ x 5″ Strathmore Sketchbook, ink pens and Sharpies

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This work byVernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Building on the corner of Pembroke & New Sts. in Port of Spain, Trinidad

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This is Day Two of my “negative week” where I post negatives of some of my drawings. Above is a sketch of two buildings, a restored building on the left that now houses an office, and the one on the right a small home. I love the deeply recessed windows and doors , the louvers, the clerestory windows and louvers, and the steep roof. Well done!

Click here to read previous post on this building>>>

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, architecture, illustrations

3.5″ x 5″ Strathmore Sketchbook, ink pens and Sharpies

Creative Commons License
This work byVernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.