Son Of The Soil Draws Spotlight To Grenada

Now Grenada

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Grenadian architect Bryan Bullen is the recipient of the prestigious 2022 Design Excellence Award instituted by the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA).

The award recognises an architectural practice making the most outstanding contribution, having particular relevance to the country or region in which the architect or architectural practice operates. An eminent Jury Panel consisting of Saif Ul Haque (Asia), Alfred Omenya (Africa), Jonathan Mizzi (Europe), Liz Walsh (Oceania), and Jenifer Smith (America) gave the unanimous verdict.

As an innovative design leader, Bryan first studied fine art and industrial design at the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) in Toronto Canada. He graduated as an honours student with several awards, before obtaining a Master of Architecture degree from the world-renowned Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC). He worked in the office of Ellerbe Becket in Los Angeles, the office of the late Trinidadian architect, Roger Turton, and the Louisiana Museum in Denmark before returning to his homeland of Grenada. He has served as an external examiner at the UTech Caribbean School of Architecture in Jamaica, designed the 2021 Grenada National Pavilion for the 17th International Venice Architectural Biennale and is in the process of authoring a 5-part monograph series entitled Between 2 Worlds, detailing his work over 25 years of practice in the Caribbean.

In 2000, he founded his award-winning firm, Caribbean Office of Co-operative Architecture (COCOA). His practice is known for the design of the iconic Grenada House of Parliament, along with numerous residential, commercial, and planning projects throughout Grenada. COCOA’s clients include the Government of Grenada, St George’s University, financial institutions, and a wide range of developers and private homeowners.

Bullen reflects, “It is indeed a proud moment for all Grenadians, my team and me, that our country can lead by example. I have always championed the importance of the architect’s role in the design of civil society and the need for a collective voice. A voice that can influence policies and policy makers to undertake decisions which will effect positive, long-lasting changes for the built environment and by extension improve the quality of people’s lives. With the confluence of recent and recurring global events, resulting in displacement, and socioeconomic turmoil, Grenada as with other vulnerable island states in the region must adapt sustainable measures to survive, while balancing the risks that come with development. As ‘space makers’, architects have a responsibility to design buildings that are befitting of a people, place and time. Our time and landscape challenge architects to assume the mantle of identifying synergies among the impending changes, while maintaining the uniqueness of place, culture, and history that will be to the benefit of our people.”

Writer: Andrea Milam
Photographer: Straley Photography, Faith Stone, Julien Mitchell