Roatán is the largest of Honduras’s Bay Islands, which along with Utila and Guanaja, are starting points for exploring the most extensive and pristine coral reefs in the Caribbean. Currently, the area around the cruise ship docks has no strolling areas for passengers. The site of Brick Bay occupies a peninsula of land adjacent to the docks.
In order to protect a front-line stand of mangroves and still provide the client with a walkable waterfront, the design team sculpted an esplanade and canal behind the mangroves that would be naturally flushed by the tide. Trails and narrow streets would connect the hamlets farther up the hill with the waterfront village. Unlike most conventional developments in the Bay Islands, the Village of Brick Bay would include a range of housing types, from modest flats and cottages to more expensive houses with a direct view of the Bay. The waterfront would be completely accessible to the public, in contrast with the privatized beaches of many Caribbean resorts. Currently, expatriates, retirees, and second-home owners make up most of the buyers in Roatán’s market. Yet, most of the available real estate is located in unwalkable places. The Village of Brick Bay would be the first new development on the island that offers high quality, authentically-detailed houses in a walkable, mixed-use format.
During a one-week charrette in Roatán, Castillo Arquitectos and Dover, Kohl & Partners studied the island’s villages, including Coxen Hole, West End, and French Harbor. The design team became acquainted with the "Garifuna" vernacular of the Bay Islands, and drew from these modest, climate-responsive building types to design the buildings for the Village of Brick Bay. Some of the architectural features include ground floors raised almost one story above the street, balconies supported by wooden brackets, deep porches and eaves, operable shutters, metallic roofs, cisterns, and small building footprints that maximize cross ventilation. The urbanism of the vernacular settlements also inspired the design team to draw narrow streets and small blocks.