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Architecture of Barbados

Barbadian Architecture - Bridgetown

The architecture of Barbados is quite limited as no true buildings exist from the pre-Columbian times. However, the island has more historic architecture than most of the Caribbean since many early buildings were made from coral, not wood, which was the resource most islands used at the time.

With the British came the Georgian, Jacobean, and the Victorian styles over the colonial years, but these British styles were adopted for Barbados's climate as the buildings tend to be small and triangle in shape to counteract the hurricane and tropical storm winds.

Some of the island's oldest buildings, primarily in the Jacobean style are from the 1600s, including St. Nicholas Abbey (1650s) in St. Peter and the residential Drax Hall (1650s) in St. George, which is a great example of an early sugar plantation master's home.

With the Georgian style new buildings were built through the 1600s and 1700s, including the Pavilion Court (1780s; former called the Hastings Hospital). Numerous houses on the island are also in the style.

The next style to arrive was the Victorian style. Many of the island's surviving chattel homes are in this style. The chattel homes were used by the sugar plantation workers, which were small, but often detailed and ornate in style as they sat on coral so they could easily be moved.

Although modern building materials and techniques have been brought to Barbados, the islands have not begun to build large skyscrapers or outrageously unique modern buildings. Many of the country's current buildings are built from this newer technology, but the people have not yet decided to create buildings that stand out as extraordinarily unique as the island has enough colonial charm to go around.

This page was last updated: March, 2013