Ian Gordon 2013-04-16 01:41:06
Bermuda roofs and quaint cottages are what most people associate with architecture in Bermuda. Less known, though, are the works of a number of iconic architects of the 20th century. Bermuda has a number of well-kept secrets. Amongst those are the architectural gems designed by a number of iconic architects from the 20th century. Mies van der Rohe, Robert Venturi and William Van Alen represent three distinctive periods in 20th- century modern, postmodern and art deco architecture. Bermuda also has its own iconic architect, Wil Onions, whose work is marked by its originality and unique transformation of features that characterise residential architecture in Bermuda. The distinctive Bacardí Headquarters on Pitts Bay Road in Hamilton was designed by Mies van der Rohe. Originally commissioned by Jose “Pepin” Bosch to design a new headquarters in Santiago de Cuba in 1957, with the brief to “build an office without walls,” the project was interrupted by the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and the subsequent exile of the Bacardí family. The distinctive building van der Rohe designed was eventually constructed in Bermuda in 1972. It remains the most distinctive modernist building in Bermuda with a simplicity and clarity that lend a timeless character to the building. The Brant House in Tucker’s Town, which overlooks Windsor Beach, was designed by Robert Venturi, who is widely renowned For his postmodern style and his equally renowned book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. The Brant House is a stunning and original interpretation of the traditional elements of Bermuda architecture. Venturi holds this building as one of his finest houses. Burnt House in Warwick is said to have been designed by William Van Alen, whose fame stems from his creation of Manhattan’s art deco icon: the Chrysler Building. Burnt House is a much more restrained effort. The fingerprints of its designer are subtle and most evident in the interior and construction of the house. There are two very distinctive buildings in Hamilton designed by Bermuda’s own Wil Onions. Onions designed many distinctive Bermuda residences and sought to weave tradition with creativity by manipulating the built form. City Hall in Hamilton is a civic interpretation of Onions’ distinctive residential style and is probably the most visited architectural gem in the City of Hamilton. His second structure, St. Theresa’s Cathedral on Elliot Street in Hamilton, is a blend of Bermuda architecture with a twist. The scale, interior space and attention to detail not only provide insight into Onions’ diverse influences but also help to create what has become iconic Bermudian architecture. Ian Gordon is principal of Architecture & Resort Planning. 1 Lane Hill, Hamilton; Tel: 441-295-9793 or 441-336-2446; Fax: 441-292-3623; Website: arp.bm
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