For more than 40 years, Arch and Godfrey has been a trusted name in construction in the Cayman Islands. Now they have used their experience and expertise to create a new 'home' of their own. Located on historic Mary Street in George Town, the renovated Arch and Godfrey: LEEDing the Way in Sustainability. Arch and Godfrey office pays homage to its Caymanian heritage while incorporating the latest technology to ensure a sustainable future.
Words By Natasha Were. Photography by Christine Wise.
Around 120 years old and a glorious example of a traditional Cayman style home, the original edifice boasts many elements the business owners wished to preserve while bringing the building into the 21st century. “Historic preservation, sustainability, security and innovation were the criteria guiding the design and construction of the building,“ according to Heber Arch, Director.
Beautifully restored pine floors, original bead board walling and interior doors complete with Victorian locks shine against windows that have been replaced with energy-efficient, hurricane-rated glass, but are set in original frames bringing authenticity to the space. The whole design scheme deftly incorporates the Arch and Godfrey colours of blue, white and grey, while a feature wall connects the original cottage to the new building, creating a natural flow from one space to the next.
As the 700 square foot cottage was not large enough to bring all of Arch and Godfrey’s staff under one roof, an extension was designed taking the total space to 4,500 square feet. It was important to the owners that the same traditional and architectural aesthetics were carried through the addition to achieve cohesiveness in the space.
Another driver of the project – LEED® certification. The owners felt a social responsibility to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices in the renovation as well as the new build. They worked
closely with consultants to research LEED® criteria, and have received Platinum Certification – the highest certification awarded by LEED®. This makes them the only LEED® Platinum office building in the Caribbean excluding the U.S. territories.
Some of their sustainable features include:
- Insulated concrete forms (ICF);
- Photovoltaic solar system providing up to 90% of the building’s energy consumption;
- High-efficiency 25 SEER multi-zoned variable refrigerant flow (VRF) air conditioning system;
- 18,500 gallon cistern for all non-potable water use;
- LED lighting with occupancy sensors and timers for outdoors;
- Low GPM flow rate fixtures with sensors.
- In addition, a recycling programme that was developed during construction, and resulted in a 75 percent reduction in construction waste, is still in use now.
LEED® certification is holistic. It is about more than just energy-efficiency, it concerns external and internal environments, taking in to account the health and well-being of the people using the space. That is why the owners had photometric studies carried out to ensure supreme visual comfort with 77 percent of interior spaces receiving natural light. There is a dedicated outside air supply unit allowing fresh air into the building (said to improve employees’ alertness), and all paints, stains, adhesives and sealants used have low volatile organic compound (VOC) levels to reduce any risk of off-gassing. The office is also equipped with a shower and bike racks to encourage staff to get fit on their way to work.
Safety and Security
Hurricane safety is of utmost importance to any structure in the Caribbean, and the new Arch and Godfrey office is built to withstand a Category 5 storm. The owners wanted to have a building that could serve as a shelter for its staff and their families.
Hurricane safety features include:
- Eave soffits are ventilated with patented hurricane safety vents;
- Engineered wood trusses with heavy sheathing and standing seem panels;
- Hurricane impact windows with low “E” glazing;
- Pervious concrete car park to eliminate localised flooding.
In terms of security, the front door is electronically controlled to screen entry into the office. In addition to smoke detectors and a fire alarm system, fire suppressant equipment has been installed, and a protected escape route was designed for handicapped occupants.
A Gem on Mary Street
Outside the property is dotted with native plants and trees, a small herb garden, and soft night lighting to minimise light pollution. The new Arch and Godfrey office is a testament to the company’s continued innovation and commitment to a sustainable future for the Cayman Islands. The project has already gained international recognition earning the International Property Award for Preservation and Sustainability for Office Development.
For more information contact,
Arch and Godfrey: