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Constructing Retrospect

Diamond Reef – Photo by Samantha Rose

The masters of architecture talk to VIPY about their most exciting year yet! – Q&A with RDP Director and Architect Thor Downing

There are many popular commercial names that visitors and residents will know from frequent visits to the establishments encompassing resorts, marinas, or favourite watering holes.

What some may not be aware of are that some of these renowned locales comprise Roger Downing & Partner’s architecture portfolio.

It’s been a while since VIPY interviewed RDP, so we caught up with them regarding their most recent projects over the past year, excited to find out that they’re continuing to accomplish great feats for the island to see.

  1. What makes RDP unique?

Our firm has the right resources to provide personal attention to our clients, while maintaining the highest qualifications that enable us to undertake the largest projects in the Territory.

We are vigilant over the quantity of projects we undertake to ensure our clients receive the exclusive touch they deserve, no matter the size of their project.

Environment and sustainability are forefront; the interview process of many projects goes both ways; we choose the clients that are eager to embrace the natural beauty we live in and discourage projects that reject the natural order of ecology, sustainability, and/or the topography of the BVI.

A topographical survey prepared by a licensed surveyor is absolutely critical as insurance for the best outcome of the project. We’ve found that working both with the surveyors and engineers intimately from the onset, ensures best predictable results. We ask for tree species, diameter of leaf canopy, trunk size, boulder locations, heights, existing utilities – anything of special note.

We translate all this information into use with the technology we utilise providing our clients with a model view of their project in seamless virtual reality. This confirms the client’s understanding, envisioning and exploring their future spaces.

  1. What major projects have RDP been working on this past year?

Our major projects were YCCS renovations, Villa Montastraea in Oil Nut Bay, Diamond Estate in Great Camanoe, and Hendo’s Hideout Restaurant in JVD. Each project demands special attention and close relationship with the construction teams and the contractors; this was key to the success in all our projects.

  1. What did RDP have to do on these major projects?

Diamond Reef Estate on Great Camanoe – This was a major renovation; this old colonial style house already had great charm and structure along with 10 acres. The outcome was to double the size and capacity of the house and add what we believe is one of the most beautiful pools and landscapes to complement the houses.

The stone masons preformed the job of blending the new with old perfectly, making it almost impossible to know which building was original and which was new. The owner is also very environmentally conscious; the property boasts the first off grid water production facility generating approximately 1500 gallons of water every single day.

Hendo’s Hideout, White Bay, Jost Van Dyke – Bare foot-in-the-sand, modern cuisine was the concept we brought to reality; to gently touch the beach and not impose on it, providing a balance between feeling you are part of the beach yet able to lounge with more intimacy while enjoying high end cuisine and service.

Montastraea Villa, Oil Nut Bay, Virgin Gorda – The view was always the key during the concepts; opening up the rooms to the vistas, the interiors were kept purposefully simple and elegant so not to distract from the view.

We also went to great length to provide the villa with as much privacy from the main road and bring the family closer to the sea, so there’s a great sense of contact and connection with the ocean. The seating area above the pool was a carefully designed set of stairs that doubles as seats for viewing during the evening or throughout the day. The pool itself with its large sunken bar in the ‘grotto,’ provides a perfect area to socialise or just relax under cover.

YCCS renovations, North Sound, Virgin Gorda – Already a beautiful property, we were heavily involved in the implementation of a large infrastructure upgrade and the creation of the new Aqua Bar, two new suites in the existing structures, and the new arrival dock pavilion.

The aim of the project was to provide the club with the ability to offer a range of new services and activities. This project in particular was a fantastic experience in maximising the space in existing areas to get the best impact. There was continuous ‘lateral thinking’ on this project from concept to completion as all the teams came together to find solutions.

  1. What do you hope to accomplish with these projects?

A happy client is always the most important outcome. We like to think that each time we educate and inspire our clients to understand the principles of architecture and sustainability, showing how everything is interconnected as one decision will impact another.

With each new project, we strive to learn and improve, increasing our team’s knowledge and experience to help shape each project. Expanding and enhancing the environment and sustainability of each project is an ever-increasing part of the process. Careful research and discussions ensure that the concepts are guided on these fundamentals.

The design and eventual construction evolves as an organism that will exceed expectations and minimise any impact on the environment.

Roger Downing and Partner encourage their clients to become involved in the community.

RDP on average is involved in approximately $20 million in construction per year, offering employment opportunities, and contributing to the economy of the BVI. They hope their designs educate the general public about the intricacies of architecture and environmental sustainability.

RDP are honoured to be heavily involved in the ‘Roger Downing’ Mangrove Board walk, and the Tortola Humane Society’s new building in Josiah’s bay, providing services pro bono.

Roger Downing & Partner



Tel: (284) 494 2762

Erin Paviour-Smith

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