Years ago, while returning from the New Urban Guild's Schooner Bay architectural charrette on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, Julia and Steve had an epiphany: Much of our work has been focused on the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and the US Gulf Coast, and in these regions, the climate, culture, and conditions are quite similar. And the indigenous architecture that grew up in each of these places bears a striking resemblance to the other architectures of what we now call the "Caribbean Rim." The US Gulf Coast, of course, does not border the Caribbean Sea, but the heat, humidity, hurricanes, and heritage that is a gumbo of French, Spanish, and English predecessors is quite similar… and so is the architecture.
Today, "green architecture" is often promoted as lookalike architectural styles with lots of green gizmos that can be plopped anywhere on earth, but the fact is, buildings can't be truly smart and sustainable without being firmly embedded within and respectful of their context. Caribbean Rim conditions are more extreme than most of the rest of the United States, so it makes a perfect setting for designing, building, and illustrating architecture that is sustainably harmonious with its context. We believe the lessons learned from respecting a regional context can be useful in other parts of the world as well. That, after all, should be what we export: not a style, but a respectful design methodology.