Saturday, April 9, 2011

UG + Architecture

Had the occasion to go to UG (University of Guyana) twice and both times was mildly surprised to be in  Air-conditioned rooms. So while this is nice, I wondered whether it reflected the lives of the average student (no) and with the raised expectations-- as a small business owner-- whether they would be prepared to pay more for that facility (no). GPL, the only power company has recently stated that the public can expect Blackouts during periods of Peak usage??!! Even our neighbour - Venezuela is having problems supplying power to all, in spite of having an Oil Industry.
So the better designed buildings in the Colonial Era tried to make use of natural Air Flow. The foolishness of the previous Government and spinelessness of the current one, allowed 'Vendors' to block the air Flow outside the Main Post Office, no doubt creating a Fire Hazard but that is a whole different story.  They have now reduced the use of the unefficient air-conditioners and resorted to Fans in some booths but they seem too scared to rock the apple cart and clear the pavement dwellers.  I was recently at the National Insurance Building near the jail and the staff on the top floor were well placed to take advantage of the breeze-- incidentally all staff seemed efficient and polite.
Had visited one of  the Royal Palaces in Jaipur,India and the Guide pointed out how in the 13th century they had constructed a series of steps on the side where the wind met the building, creating an air vent to make a natural air conditioning system and wondered why some bright engineering spark didn't go back and investigate more sensible ways of constructing houses and buildings?
And at some point the Government would have to step in and insist that certain things are mandatory in New Houses, like the Barbadian government did by insisting that all new Hot Water systems be Solar Powered ones. Mind you, with the blatant disregard of rules in the current constructions in Bel Air Park-- so the people with money have no sense-- it makes a joke that the Government would insist that the Canadians follow the rules ( the City Council broke down the security construction the Canadian High Commission had constructed outside their premises, apparently blind to all the illegal construction going on in the space-hungry city).
Addition - BBC article on creating learning spaces - I think 2 is applicable for Guyana!:


  1. So informative article. I feel bit sensitive on issue related to government involvement in houses design.
    dean graziosi

  2. you been the nice parts of UG, reserved for impressing people. Spend some times in the "stables" around midday, I wish UG had planned the ventilation of some of their class rooms abit better. There are some nice airy class rooms around but not many sadly.

  3. yes you should visit the stables between 11-2... its soooooo hot!! However i must say CBJ was constructed with the aim to take advantage of natural air flow... its very breezy there!