Friday, November 16, 2007

The evolution of Barbadian architecture

One of the most noticeable changes on Barbados' landcape over time has been the changes in its architecture. Here's a pictorial of how local homes have changed over the centuries:

The slave huts (1700's to 1800's) that were the homes of the African slaves working on Caribbean plantations were far from large but housed entire families. In Barbados, a few can still be found in their original state, while others have been remodelled.

Chattel houses (post 1830's to mid 1900's) were originally the design of the plantation workers home. They were modest wooden buildings set on blocks so that they could be easily moved from one leaseholding to another.

In early settlement days, home owners were not necessarily landowners, but part of a tenantry system of the plantations. The houses were constructed to be transportable in the event of landlord and tenant disputes. The name chattel referred to the fact that they were movable property.

Chattel houses are still evident in Barbados, although these days their designs are far more elaborate and aesthetically pleasing. Their foundations are now more permanent as well, as in most cases the homeowners are now situated on their own plots of land.

Today, there is a wide array of architectural design on the island, from the modest

to the elaborate,

from houses

to condos.

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