Building in the Caribbean

Pole House at Sunset

It’s an idyllic dream, to have a home on an island in the Caribbean.  The climate is wonderful, always warm with sun-soaked days and lovely cooling trade winds.  Beautiful beaches and turqoise waters abound.  Exotic tropical plants thrive.  The pace of life is slower.

That’s all true, but Caribbean islands present many challenges, too.  These are volcanic islands, prone to earthquakes and tremors.  They lie in the path of frequent hurricanes, and there’s little land to diffuse the strength of storms.  Infrastructure is often fragile.  So while living there may seem like the ultimate pleasure, building a home requires a lot of careful thought and planning.

When Helga and her husband decided to pursue this dream, she set to work designing a house that would meet the physical challenges of its unique setting while also taking the best advantage of its spectacular beauty.  The result was a pole house based on ancient Japanese designs.  Its grid of massive round poles and the large beams that connect them bear the weight of the structure, provide a flexible frame to withstand earth tremors, and allow all walls to be non-load-bearing to create open spaces flowing seamlessly from inside to the out-of-doors.