Two Architectural Workplace Designs from the Caribbean Islands
Architectural workplace design for Caribbean office spaces and commercial units is in dire need of lots of fresh creative air blown through it!
Labour Laws in the Caribbean are still somewhat archaic on many islands. They are based on a ‘Workers Charter’ that goes back to 1960s industrial Britain. Some Labour codes have been updated with a more balanced employee/employer structure, but then it takes more than the letter of the law and its interpretation to change old attitudes and prejudices.
Perhaps we should look to our Caribbean architects and spatial designers to lead the way out of the dark working habits of old, and introduce the light! We include two fine examples of how this can be done. These bring shape, colour and the tropical environment together to throughly impact how we work together in a shared space.
St. Lucia Studio Design
Overlooking the suburbs of Castries in St. Lucia is a studio perched like a bird. It’s designed and occupied by a firm of architects, Melon Design.
This is really a unique architectural workplace design, set within a small single roomed unit. The studio is a single room with a long white central worktable, along which up to 5 or 6 persons sit at their computers. A roof light pours light down onto the central table illuminating the work space with natural light.
There is no air-conditioning and the whole office is designed around the prevailing breezes to catch the flow of fresh air. There are three main ‘openings’. The first is a pair of wide timber sliding doors leading out to a timber deck and the second is an awning type entrance metal doorway made of galvanized metal. The third is a drawbridge type door constructed with timber that is lowered by a pulley system to become a deck to sit at when in the open position.
The entrance to the studio is through a courtyard formed by a garden-type screen wall that is attached to an existing stone windmill where the washrooms are located. The overall colour effect is cool and citrusy and non-intrusive.
The views from the studio are of the courtyard and tropical gardens. Photos take by Lumis Photography.
BVI Glass and Block Office Design
The Commerce House was built for JOMA Properties Limited in Road Town Tortola. The Five-stories which give 40,000 sq ft of professional rentable office space, draws light in through a plethora of glass fenestration. Breaking up the huge glass frontages which bring in the tropical landscape of the Roadtown Bay; are several large wall faces with random windows of different sizes. These break up the passage of light into interesting shapes in the interior.
The whole building is shaped like the massive boulders, which form much of the shores fronts of Tortola and Virgin Gorda.
As a Caribbean workplace design, this design brings together all the elements of shape, colour and the tropical environment, resulting in a building that is aesthetically compatible with any world-class capital city style commercial space.
Roger Downing and Partner Company Ltd, the architects on this project in the BVI, were established in 1969 as an Architectural and Engineering Company. RDP has been involved in Rockresorts at Little Dix Bay Hotel since the early seventies, Peter Island Hotel since 1976, Prospect Estates since 1974 and currently Mosquito Island Interiors. Over the years they have also been responsible for the design and construction of a number of resort, marine and commercial projects as well as substantial luxury private residential complexes.
RDP takes very seriously the influence that good design can bring to both the fragile environment, and also to daily social interaction and feel that how we work together, relies on the spatial ability to communicate, see and hear around us, and with good architectural workplace design and an understanding of the harsh BVI environment, this has been achieved with great flair in this commercial building.Share this article on