With more than 30 years of architectural experience, John Doak, an undeniable talent in the Caribbean, has contributed to the evolved design landscape of the Cayman Islands in myriad of ways. A graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow, Doak made his way through OBM International as international director of design and managing director of the Cayman Office until he started his own firm Cayman Style, which is now known as John Doak Architecture.
As a diligent project designer, Doak delivered singular attention to detail and on-the-nose project management. The firm has designed some of the most innovative and unique spaces on the island and throughout the region. Doak was recognised for his work in architectural preservation by Her Majesty queen Elizabeth II with a Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour in 2013.
What drives Doak is an ingrained sense of curiosity that he owes to the Cayman Islands themselves. “I have spent the last almost 40 years researching, writing, photographing and sketching this place. I continue to learn more about this region and about myself. While I have become better informed and have developed a passion for the Caribbean and its islands, my journey has also introduced me to an astonishing medley of experiences and people.” Architecture has also helped mark his time on the islands, as well as telling the story of the country’s progress.
“The architecture of the Cayman Islands has certainly changed over the last three decades that I have been blessed to be a part of. Interestingly, our architectural milestones are almost exactly 10 years apart and appear to coincide with the construction of distinguished hotels built on Seven Mile Beach and coupled with storey-height changes in the planning laws.”
Creatively speaking, Doak’s inspiration is fuelled by his love of the Caymans and the surrounding Caribbean region. With an understanding of how to design and build on a tropical island, Doak and his team are able to navigate the variations in Caribbean weather, topography and the types of materials that can survive in an often-unforgiving environment.
“Cayman now has a population of approximately 60,000 comprising persons of 140 nationalities, so one can imagine the challenges to satisfy those many and differing aspirations whilst helping to maintain the Caymanian identity that brings people here in the first place. For me, every new commission is an inspiration for it brings a different client personality, property, budget and wish list to solve.’’
Looking to the future, Doak hopes that despite advancing technology, there will be greater appreciation for the Caribbean’s cultural and geographic wonders. “We need to properly understand and appreciate what sustainability means for our islands in real terms and not because it’s a trendy word to be dropped into topical conversation. In architecture, we continue to incorporate new technologies and ways to design and build whilst still maintaining our spaces in all that we do. We are implementing more selective materials and construction techniques for our buildings to be healthier to live and work in.”
John Doak Architecture | DotCom Centre, 342 Dorcy Drive,
Airport Park, PO Box 10004, Grand Cayman, KY1-1001.Cayman Islands
T: 345 946 3625