Local architect realises Portico - a sleek, luxury condominium complex in Barbados
Challenging traditional norms and introducing modern architectural concepts has always been a test for any architect. A luxury condominium on Prospect Bay Beach in St. James, Barbados, manages to elegantly combine contradicting concepts: traditionalist British-Caribbean architecture of the island with sleek lines and open spaces, characteristic of modern design, as well as local landscape and natural materials with man-made ones, and to do so by having ultimate comfort in mind.
The building was designed by the architect Roldano Bellori, known for his blend of modern architecture that utilise straight lines open spaces, as well as his respect for existing local traditional style, and always faithful to his passion for local landscape and natural materials.
Portico, which is opening its doors this year, is ideally located on the west coast of Barbados and draws attention from the outside by its sleek glass-curtain wall. On entrance once comes to a glass bridge above a reflecting pool, where water and stone organically merge with concrete and glass, replicating the surrounding outdoors in a contemporary way.
“I have tried to combine local traditional architectural style with big spaces and sleek lines, and I enjoyed playing with different materials, such as stone, wood, concrete and glass. But most importantly, I have attempted to create an open-spaced dwelling that includes the stunning landscape you see outside the window,” says the architect.
Vast spaces throughout the building add to the feeling of untamed nature and modernistic architecture blended into one - including a five-story open lobby, where the elevator stands out as an independent volume, yet integrated into the whole. Glass balustrades and bridges on each floor offer another level to the feeling of freedom one experiences inside the building by introducing a deeper dimension of invisible elegance.
The stairs, a sculptural composition in steel and glass, add drama to the lobby, majestically connecting the floors. “The stairs became a piece of art I was looking to place in the vast space in the middle. I decided to play with characteristic features of stairs usually find on boats, but I constructed them from light materials, so that they blend in with the theme of the building, but playfully stand out at the same time,” explains Bellori.