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How The Bahamas Helped Define Caribbean Architecture

Posted by Rachel Pinder on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017 at 4:36pm.

With our crystalline water, powdered-sand beaches and the most friendly, fun-loving people on Earth, it’s no wonder The Caribbean is a staple of every travellers dream. A huge aspect of the unique allurance that these islands possess is the architecture that can’t be imitated elsewhere. Due to the merging of European and African techniques, Bahamian architecture has become the most widely mimicked style in the tropics. We’ve built up a list of the three most distinct types of Bahamian buildings:

1. Clapboard Cottages:

These charming island cottages are most frequently found in Harbour Island and Spanish Wells. Standardized in the early nineteenth century, the ground floor of the cottages are elevated on low stilts, allowing air to circulate while avoiding rainwater floods below. These homes are designed with the intention of staying cool, with large windows and high ceilings to increase airflow complementing pushed out shutters to shade windows and help direct breezes indoors, even during rainstorms. The buildings themselves are also angled to receive trade winds. On which other islands have you found clapboard cottages?

2. Colonial Houses:

These houses display the oldest architectural style found throughout the islands, and are most commonly used for government buildings. While the style is based on the architecture brought to the country by early British estate owners, Bahamian builders made more functional adaptations to work with the climate in the islands. These buildings may have the same traditionally thick walls as found in Europe, but in The Bahamas, they’re painted light colours to reflect the sun. In an attempt to make indoors even breezier, more windows, verandahs and porches can be found on these Bahamian buildings to encourage stronger airflow.

3. Modern Villas:

In a tropical climate, it’s essential to brace for harsh storms. Modern villas take this heavily into consideration, with tiled roofs and clean stone walls which protect against harmful weather while keeping inhabitants cool. Most modern villas have spacious interiors to let more light in, along with multiple terraces and french doors to allow breeze inside and take advantage of the spectacular views found in the islands. This spacious and airy interior design also helps to keep electricity bills down by allowing as much natural light as possible indoors. Our blazing sun is useful for much more than tanning in!

With the beautiful variety of buildings found throughout The Bahamas, there’s sure to be more unique architectural styles found throughout these islands. Modern architects may even blend styles to suit the owner’s taste and climate needs. If you know of any, share this blog around and add your own architectural expertise!

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