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Architects propose Master Plan for the re-development of Soufriere

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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 Resort Concept.

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. Louis said.

The lecture by Mr. Louis was one of a four part series, marking Architects Awareness Week.

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