Studio Blue's Eco designs
By Carmel Haynes - Business Authority
Balancing the wishes of house building clients on one hand, with an architect’s commitment to sustainable, environmentally friendly design is invariably bound to be a challenge for any firm. But, it is one that the year-old Studio Blue Architects Inc. is more than happy to take on.
“Pushing the boundaries of traditional Caribbean architecture and design to create contemporary designs, whilst at the same time respecting and enhancing the natural environment of the Caribbean.”
That is how partners Neil Hutchinson, Dian Small, and Polyana Bayley market their fledgling architectural firm. While responding to their clients’ needs, the three said they still attempt to incorporate natural materials, especially wood and limestone finishes into their designs. These materials are a particular favorite of Bayley, who characterizes her style as “traditional” and attempts to hold true to the historical style of architecture based on Barbadian heritage. Although Hutchinson and Small favour more “modern” design in part due to their Royal Institute of British Architects training, they agreed that traditional architecture responded to the local climate in a way that a lot of modern architecture does not. Although their clients’ needs are their top priority, the three try to hold firm to the principle of sustainable architecture when advising clients.
However, it is not always easy as Hutchinson acknowledges. “Sometimes I feel caught,” he said. “As an architect I still want to build, but as a bit of a conservationist I would like to preserve the landscape.”
Hutchinson characterizes his focus as definitely modern, but with an ecological slant. As such, the young architect designed a miniature eco-friendly house model to showcase at last year’s Greening Expo. The house featured basic water and energy saving measures, which he said the average householder could make, including a compost toilet, rainwater storage and re-use, and energy-saving lights.
Established in November 2002, the studio has started to make a name for itself having already been entrusted with some major industrial and commercial projects. These include Mount Gay Distilleries’ new multi-million dollar blending and aging warehouse facility in St Lucy, the refurbishment and extension of their office headquarters in Bridgetown and a new office building for a group of attorneys in the Pine, St. Michael.