Happy birthday Barbados – lets build a new Bridgetown

Impressive residential, commercial and hospitality structures in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean bear the Gillespie & Steel Associates stamp. You cannot pass your hand across it, or see its imprint on the walls of these edifices, but you know it’s there—that je ne sais quoi that charms you as you enter those exquisite spaces.

After five decades of providing that lifestyle for locals, expatriates and high-profile clients, the multiple award-winning firm would like to bring a similar allure to the capital of an island that marks its golden anniversary of Independence on November 30 this year.

Many professionals are content to bask in their own success. But it takes only a few minutes with director and head of the firm’s architectural design team Douglas Luke, and senior associate Jeremy Gunn to realise that these architects also have a hunger to uplift the country which Gillespie & Steel has called home since the 1960s when it was formed by two expatriates from Scotland.

Luke was particularly passionate as he spoke about the current state of Bridgetown, a city that has earned Unesco World Heritage status, but which, as far as he’s concerned, has fallen far short of its full potential to be a vibrant urban centre.

“Barbados is 50 years old this year and I don’t think it has met its architectural or physical development maturity as yet. I still think that we’re very immature, especially in how we look at our urban spaces. . . . And I think that within the next 10 years Gillespie & Steel would like to be, if not at the forefront, a healthy, contributing participant to the positive re-urbanisation of Barbados.

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