Tue | Mar 20, 2018

Letter of the Day | Give local architects creative space

Published:Friday | March 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The article 'Don't push local architects to fringes' which appeared in your Sunday paper of March 26, 2017, written by Dr Patricia Green, head of the Caribbean School of Architecture in the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of Technology, is a welcome and timely reminder that the talent and creativity of Jamaican architects should be respected and encouraged.

Dr Green points out that the CSA carries international validation from the Commonwealth Association of Architects and continues "to prepare with success work-ready individuals for Jamaica, the Caribbean, and the world and that CSA graduates are sought after, with many receiving scholarships globally and employment with major firms locally and abroad".

She poses an important question for the nation when she asks, "Do successive governments recognise the value of Jamaican architects as a commodity for development of our country?"

There was a time when the Government of Jamaica did show respect for the talent of Jamaican architects. Today, on the Kingston waterfront, there stands the Bank of Jamaica, a beautiful building, whose original charm, character, and aesthetic appeal have remained since its erection 40 years ago. At that time, the young nation of Jamaica was enabling and engendering an environment that allowed aspiring Jamaican architects the opportunity to contribute to their society and to express their creativity.

The architect of the Bank of Jamaica was a Jamaican: Herbert George Bradford (1931-2016) of the firm of Rutkowski, Bradford and Partners. He was among those individuals who went abroad at their own expense to gain the skills and expertise necessary to become architects and engineers. Bradford studied at the Hammersmith School of Architecture in London.

Over the years, the building has remained an appropriate headquarters for the country's central bank. Today, those who work within the walls of the Bank of Jamaica regard their building as a national treasure and express the hope that it will continue to be an inspiration to those who enter its walls.

Surely, there is no reason why our own Jamaican architects should not be allowed to continue to create our own national treasures!