It does not take an architectural expert to appreciate the uniqueness and stunning beauty of a Gillespie & Steel design. But the experts are noticing— scores of them, actually. Going up against several accomplished architects from countries across the Americas, the Barbados-based Gillespie & Steel Associates impressed more than 70 judges to cop 2015 International Property Awards, in four of the 14 architecture categories, for its design of exquisite properties on Barbados’s Platinum Coast.
They are: Architecture Multiple Residence for Barbados, with the upscale and private Settlers Barbados; Leisure Architecture for Barbados, with The Spa at Coral Reef; Retail Architecture for Barbados, with the high-end Limegrove Lifestyle Centre and Architecture Single Residence for Barbados, for the contemporary and luxurious Footprints Villa.
Settlers Barbados, formerly known as Settlers Beach, is one of the oldest West Coast hotels, located on a white-sand beach just north of Holetown. The original hotel was constructed during the 1950s, necessitating various upgrades over the years. A major makeover by Gillespie & Steel created an upscale, exclusive, residential retreat on a site that boasts over 70 metres of uninterrupted beachfront.
Gillespie & Steel also brought to life the commercial aspect of the nearby Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, creating a streetscape of distinctive buildings, each with its individual character and painted in its own colour, that formed a single cohesive unit.
The refurbishment at Footprints Villa saw a Spanish-styled, two-unit condominium being completely transformed into a contemporary, single-unit luxury beach villa with stunning elevated views of the beach. It is an expression of modern and minimalist architecture, featuring a cascading water wall that provides a soothing ambient background.
With Gillespie & Steel’s touch, a secluded oasis incorporating lush tropical vegetation and the beach front was created at The Spa at Coral Reef Club. Not that a company with 46 years’ experience and footprints across Barbados, the region and further afield still needs to prove itself, but winning a prestigious International Property Award—furthermore four—is no small feat. It is a world-renowned mark of excellence, celebrating the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry anywhere in the world.
Gillespie & Steel faced a strict set of criteria and the scrutinizing eye of a panel of experts in a range of property disciplines across the world, and chaired by two members of Britain’s House of Lords Lord Caithness and Lord Best. The designs submitted by the firm and the other Americas winners were said by President of the Awards Stuart Shield to be “exemplary” and their projects “meticulously planned, not only to prove functional, but also to be aesthetically pleasing and highly sustainable, creating the perfect environments in which to live, work or play.”
It was an endorsement of Gillespie & Steel’s work and meshed with the company’s main objective. “Our goal is to help people have better lives by creating inspired places for them to truly live, work, learn and play,” the company declares on its website. The announcement of the awards the firm won—either highly recommended or five-star—came in October at a glitzy awards ceremony held in Barbados for the first time in the 10-year history of the competition.
If Gillespie & Steel attains the highest score in the architecture category of the international awards, it will move on to the final stage of the International Property Awards to compete against winning companies from Asia Pacific, Africa, Arabia, Britain and Europe for the coveted title of World’s Best Architect.
Whether or not Gillespie & Steel takes that crown, its four other International Property Awards will take pride of place alongside two Commonwealth Association of Architects Awards, two Bloomberg Residential Property Awards and several Barbados National Trust Awards which the company has received over more than four decades of providing architectural design, interior design, and planning and project management services.
The company has a long history of designing highly desirable and inspired spaces and it’s continuing its “quest to create luxury residences, commercial buildings and civic spaces that redefine the style of Caribbean architecture.”
It has already been successful in doing so, weaving the history, culture and heritage of the region into innovative designs to create beautiful environments that are authentic, unique and highly marketable and excelling in its interior design projects. From the South to the West Coast of Barbados, Gillespie & Steel has made its mark, designing edifices that stand out for all the right reasons.
The member of the United States Green Building Council insists, as a rule, that all buildings it designs make efficient use of tropical design principles for energy conservation, and applies other green design principles to address potential negative environmental impacts—a policy that would put a smile on the faces of environmental activists and renewable energy advocates.
“Our approach to design places considerable emphasis on project solving in the Caribbean context, producing solutions that work well within the climatic, financial and technical constraints of the region,” the company says.
Gillespie & Steel has also cemented its place as a leader in project planning in the Caribbean and beyond, designing new and existing communities in Barbados, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, The Bahamas, The Turks & Caicos Islands, Colombia, Guatemala, and several resort and urban communities in the United States. It has also worked with several major international planners.
If the accomplishments so far are anything to go by, even more recognition and awards are forecasted for Gillespie & Steel Associates.