“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
— Winston Churchill
For centuries, architects and designers have sought not only to provide shelter, but to amaze and inspire. The finest examples of architectural expression – let’s call it genius – are never imitative. They are spawned in the wellspring of creative minds, and the result is always original, unique and, sometimes, even awe-inspiring.
So it is clearly noteworthy and newsworthy that Cayman Islands professionals have been honored for excellence in the demanding development industry, as we report on today’s front page, through the International Property Awards held in Toronto, Canada, last month.
Three of Cayman’s residential and commercial projects were recognized as being among the finest in the Caribbean. By virtue of their victories, the local trio has been automatically entered into the global level of the competition, with winners being announced at an awards dinner in London on Dec. 3.
Fraser Wellon’s Residences of Stone Island won Best Residence and Best Residential Development in the Caribbean. The cluster of 44 three-story homes is surrounded by the Yacht Club inlet and has access via an underpass to Seven Mile Beach. The Residences were built by the same development team behind The WaterColours.
“This is not only a tremendous achievement for our extended team, partners and clients, but also for our beautiful island to be recognized globally for outstanding efforts in multiple categories of development and architecture. We are proud to have Cayman highlighted at this global level and consider this a wonderful collective achievement for all,” Holly Wellon said.
The NCB Group’s Cayman Technology Centre won Best Office Development in the Caribbean. Anchored by The Security Center, the complex near the Cayman National roundabout is the region’s largest off-grid solar-powered commercial development and incorporates geothermal cooling to increase the efficiency of its air-conditioning system by 50 percent.
“We were so proud of our fellow Cayman peers that were also award recipients, and it was a wonderful experience being able to celebrate our individual achievements together whilst representing our country on the world stage. It was an exciting experience for all of us and I think this has clearly put Cayman on the map in terms of the quality of construction in Cayman, both commercially and residentially, as well as showcasing the extremely talented architects we have here,” said Tania Knapik, sales and marketing coordinator for NCB Group.
The Robert Towell-designed Z-Spec House won Best Architecture for a Single Residence in the Caribbean. The 7,500-square-foot home in Grand Harbour includes 5 bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms and took about 5 years to build.
Mr. Towell said he was looking forward to December’s global awards: “Someone told me yesterday, ‘It’s like the awards ceremony for Hollywood.’ Everybody goes and everybody is happy to be there even if they don’t win. Not everybody can win. I think it’s great for Cayman. We’re so small here, but it’s nice to know we’ve been recognized.”
We agree with Mr. Towell’s sentiments. As a leading international financial center and luxury tourism destination, Cayman’s success is predicated on meeting, exceeding and newly defining standards in a variety of industries. Rarely can Cayman compete against our global peers in terms of quantity, but, as demonstrated by our three property award winners, when it comes to quality we can stand on the awards stage with anyone in the world.