Monday, February 7, 2005 - Members of the St. Lucia Architects’ Institute
haven given the nod to a lecture by Secretary of the organization - Jason Louis,
which proposes a Master Plan for the re-development of Soufriere using the Urban
Mr. Louis, who holds a Masters Degree in Tropical Architecture said the entire
nation must ponder the grand day that lies ahead on February 14th, when the
Official Inscription Ceremony of the Pitons Management Area as a World Heritage
Site will take place.
He added that the upcoming historical event also begged the question: Can
Soufriere live up to the prominent role it is being called upon to assume in
Saint Lucia’s tourism development, given its present infrastructure?
According to Mr. Louis what is left of Soufriere’s architectural heritage must
be guarded jealousy throughout the course of the town’s modern development.
Otherwise he said, the unique ambience of Soufriere will be quickly lost.
“Over the centuries the distinct character of Soufriere remained unchanged. Even
after emancipation and the prominence of Castries as the capital city and
economic centre. The image of the town was however, scarred when in 1955 a
ravenous fire gulped approximately half the town. Buildings, which had recorded
the town’s rich history had gone up in flames. Half of the heritage was lost. A
rebuilt Soufriere became a double-faced town. Soufriere, like Willemstad was
dichotomous in character. History and timber to the south and concrete and
modernism to the north”, he informed
Noting that Soufriere not only embraced the Pitons, but also the Sulphur Springs
and the Diamond Falls, all known to attract thousand of tourists, the architects
concede that the town possessed sufficient invaluable assets to demand more
policy intervention and legislation to protect its integrity.
“So why hasn’t Soufriere accepted the challenge? Why is the town the nucleus,
the main player seems so uninterested? This attitude has resulted in disjointed
urban development, deterioration of historic buildings, insensitive
interventions which blatantly disregard the historical context of the town,” Mr.
The lecture by Mr. Louis was one of a four part series, marking Architects