Preserved 1930's Trinidad House

This image was taken in the front room where the majority of the family photos are displayed. This particular one is entitled "Portrait" for obvious reasons.

My name is Stanita Clarke and I am a Trinity College student studying in Trinidad for a semester. I chose to spend half of my senior year in Trinidad because of all the wonderful stories previous study abroad students have shared with me. So far, Trinidad is treating me very well, I am not sick nor is it snowing. With that said, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to learn in such a comfortable environment. As a student I am compelled to submerge myself in the world of academia. One aspect of my learning experience is to investigate Trinidad through photography. I am currently working on a series of images pertaining to the unique architecture in Trinidad. My hope is to preserve the memory of the "old" Trinidad, even though a more modern Trinidad is progressively taking over the country.

My first set of images are of a house in Port of Spain on Piccadilly Street. Dubbed the "Gingerbread House", possibly for its ostentatious wood work and extremely pointed roof-tops is an example of Trinidad's past struggling to survive modernization. I am told by my mentor, Christopher Cozier, that these houses are on the brink of extinction. So many of them have been bulldozed that it is becoming more and more uncommon to witness such marvelous structures. Which is a shame because they reflect so much about Trinidadian culture. Not only does the outside depict architectural work specific and unique to Trinidad, but the inside conveys particular details about what people cherish and how a home is put together.

According to the owners, the house was built in the 1930's by a Trinidadian architect. They have lived in it for 55 years (1954) and managed to keep almost everything original. The kitchen and bathroom were the only areas completely renovated mainly because of inconvenience. The kitchen was located outside behind of the house, but now that they have extended the house further back the kitchen is incorporated into the house. Some repainting and touch-ups have been done just to keep the place vibrant. It is becoming a common trend for windows to be boarded up so that air conditioning could provide the cool breeze. But as I have experienced, the open windows and fretwork around the top of the house allows enough breeze in to keep the family cool, not cold.

Front Door
The whole house was brightly lit with natural sunlight streaming in from the "Front Door" and neumerous windows strategically placed throughout the house.
Link to my first photo set here.

At one point the Gingerbread House was considered a modern structure, but never Western. Now, these houses are being replaced by buildings that fit Westernized standards rather than fitting into the climate/environment of Trinidad. I am not sure if Trinidad has realized the saying (as yet):" You never know what you've got 'til it is gone."


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