The history of the St. Kitts – Nevis Institute of Architects began with its initiating meetings held by the then qualified architects in St. Kitts and Nevis from 1996-99 with Architects Eustace Hobson, Joseph Lancaster, Gene Elmes, Daphne Hobson, Wycliffe Morton and Nigel Heyliger. The need for a professional institute was recognized and meetings were held where the first draft legislation for an Architects’ Registration Bill was developed. The effort waned as we waited on the lawyers and legal department to review and make comments.
In early 2002 a significant number of persons had returned to St. Kitts – Nevis from studying architecture in Jamaica and Cuba and a charter for the St. Kitts – Nevis Institute of Architects was proposed and circulated for comments by every person lettered in Architecture and Architectural Technology. This charter led to a meeting at the Foundation for National Development Conference Room on the 12th July 2005 at which all the persons present became signatories to the charter to found the Architects’ Institute. Thus the St. Kitts – Nevis Institute of Architects was founded.
The interim executive included; Ar. Wycliffe H Morton, Interim- President, Ar. Calvin A. Pemberton, Ar. Eustace Hobson (Hon.), Ar. Lewis Newton, Ms. Fonsonia O’Garro, Mr.Brian Dillion-Sirjue.
Now ten years later the Institute has several accomplishments of which the members and indeed the country can be proud. The main emphasis of the institute is that of education as is any institute and the reason for the choice of the name institute rather than society or association. In light of this educational thrust the institute has organized and held several workshops, participated in many conferences and opened avenues for the participation of its members in the architectural technician programme at the local college; Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College by assisting with internships and instructors and feeding into the periodic curriculum revisions for that programme.
We have partnered with Harris’ Paints, Berger Paint, Royal Bank of Canada, TDC, CFBC to facilitate and participate in different functions including exhibitions, material workshops, training workshops.
We have hosted Ar. Steve Brown, the then President of the Association of Commonwealth Societies of Architects in the Caribbean (ACSAC), Ministers of Government Hon. Sam Condor, Cedric Liburd, Attorneys General Dennis Merchant, Patrice Nisbett, delegations from the CFBC and Development Control and Planning Board, and various members of the local and regional business community at our monthly meetings.
Of particular importance and personal pride, is that we inducted our first Fellow into the Institute in the person of Mr. Edwin Glasford, who was nominated and appointed on having the distinction of having taught every local architect drawing or having taught their drafting teachers. He continues to practice and himself has his progeny as an architect and full member of the institute.
Of note is the Architects’ Registration Act 2010 which was passed into law after the institute draft proposal was reviewed and passed into the body of law of St. Kitts- Nevis after years of lobbying and working on a regional level to facilitate the acceptance of the law by the CariCom’s Office of Trade Negotiation – OTN along with other national Architect bodies throughout the region. However,the Architects’ Registration Board has not yet been constituted as required by that law to-date, we continue to lobby for this realization.
The SKNIA is a national body comprised of practitioners from both islands; St. Kitts and Nevis and is itself a member in two regional bodies, Association of Commonwealth Societies of Architecture in the Caribbean (ACSAC) and the Federation of Caribbean Associations of Architects (FCAA) of which local architect, Ar. Wycliffe H Morton is the Vice President (English Speaking Countrys). The FCAA is our direct representative at the Federation of Pan-American Associations of Architects which is a chapter of the global governing body of the Union of International Architects (UIA). SKNIA also has membership in the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) and has serving as Vice President for the Americas Ar. Wycliffe H Morton.
These regional and international bodies provide us with Continuing Professional Development capacity through conferences, workshops and instruction which are available to our members to ensure that we continue to exercise best international level practice and competencies. Our membership does access these facilities in order to remain well versed and represent our nation and profession on the regional and world stages. Members have regularly attended General Assemblies and conference/workshops hosted by these organizations over the years.
Additionally, the SKNIA is participating in the Mutual Recognition Agreement between CariCom member states and also a Mutual Recognition Agreement between CariCom and Dominican Republic (CariForum) as well as a third Mutual Recognition Agreement between CariForum and the European Union. These agreements allow the movement of architects and architectural services throughout the participating territories with institutional infrastructure to properly regulate the provision of services and recognition of qualifications.
The Institute has been working on the development of standardized contracts and forms for the construction industry, to better facilitate the proper execution of project delivery for clients, financial institutions and contractors. We are about to have an amazing tenth anniversary with exhibition of Works, and conferences. Even further in the future we are trying to bring both the FCAA and CAA General Assemblies and conferences to our shores for the benefit and exposure which are derived from these gatherings of large number of architects participating.
So the SKNIA has been busy, very busy and still in the midst of all this activity we continue our years long practice of monthly luncheon meetings from September through to July on the last Thursday of each month at Serendipity Restaurant where all members of the fraternity of Architects resident and visiting are welcomed to participate.