More young Barbadians are expressing an interest in architecture as a career, and one veteran in the field believes this will augur well for the profession in the future.
And that expert, Erskine Rose, has been offering the newcomers some advice.
Speaking at a lecture that was specifically geared towards budding architects in the Associate Degree programme at the Barbados Community College (BCC) as well as longstanding members of the profession, he urged the young people to keep ego out of their work as far as possible, seek the moral high ground when it came to accepting certain projects, and pay closer attention to those “faceless, nameless, homeless people who need housing solutions”.
“Some of the housing solutions offered to lower income people are not always the best, so we should seek out this client more readily, and not just in the aftermath of a natural disaster,” Rose said, noting that while only 500 of the 1.3 million architects worldwide were considered “stars” in the profession at any given time, “we can become stars for all our clients once we effectively meet their needs”.
“I am very involved in education, and I always encourage young people and inspire them. I never tell them the profession is full. These guys are special; they have wonderful opportunities and that’s why so many of them are choosing the profession,” he said in the Christie Conference Room at the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited’s Garrison offices last week.
Rose, one of the founders of SRM Architects, the oldest black-owned architectural firm on the island, also spoke about the changing demographic of people in the profession.
“When I first graduated, myself, Tyrone Mapp and Gladstone Barker at the Ministry of Transport and Works were the only black architects; all the rest were white and they were all British. Now you see the reverse, where we only have a few white architects practising. Most of those ones have either retired, went back to the UK or died, and now it’s us who are around to inspire these younger people.”
Secretary of the Barbados Institute of Architects Vicki Telford noted that her organization is also trying to promote architecture in Barbados and to bring in more youth and give them information and encouragement.
During his lecture, Rose advised the budding architects to pay attention to regulations and regulatory authorities, as failure to do so could prevent their projects from getting off the ground.
On that score, Telford noted that architects have a duty to comply with the country’s draft building code as well as Barbados’ Physical Development Plan and the International Building Code, as they carry out their work.