Friday, October 8, 2010

The Classic Tropical Architecture of Alfred Browning Parker on Grand Bahama Island

Slide show photography by Christine Matthäi

by Paula Boyd Farrington

Alfred Browning Parker—an architect best known for his acclaimed trend-setting work in the 1950s, 60s and 70s—shared a passion for organic architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, building with a sensitivity to local climate, indigenous materials, and elements of cutting-edge social and technological advances that keep their designs fresh, modern, and still celebrated today.

In the years following World War II, Alfred Browning Parker worked primarily in South Florida—the residences he designed often finding their way onto the cover of America’s leading architectural House Beautiful magazine. Parker had a style of blending natural materials like mahogany and limestone with then-new techniques in poured concrete, all while allowing naturally cooling ocean breezes to flow through his tropical homes in the days before widespread air conditioning existed.

The early developers of modern-day Grand Bahama Island—a mere 68 miles off the coast of South Florida—also called on Alfred Browning Parker’s unique talents to design many of the island’s first commercial buildings as well as some of their own executive residences. One of these homes was recently sold by Coldwell Banker James Sarles Realty—with the new owners determined to maintain its architectural and historic integrity.

Fine art photographer Christine Matthäi captured the timeless relaxed elegance of this Sea Shell House property in Grand Bahama. Her beautiful dreamy images show the organic nature of the home and its effortless flow from interior to exterior.

In addition to his grander designs, Parker also embraced the same principles of easy island living in modest everyday homes—one of which still exists in Grand Bahama right here.

Hats off to Parker’s classic tropical masterpieces on Grand Bahama Island—each built on a passionate appreciation for our natural environment which is shared by island lovers the world over.