The Old Barracks Project

The Old Barracks Project was developed as part of the charrettes on town planning for the Christiansted district in 2013. The concept appointed winner of the charrette includes the revitalization of the Old Barracks as an urban campus and the hub of education within architecture and traditional building crafts. The education will comprise an academic level making it attractive to become a highly skilled craftsman with knowledge of entrepreneurship, architecture and history. The School of Architecture will collaborate with the Danish Schools of Architecture in Copenhagen and Aarhus.

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Project Description

For the Old Barracks in Christiansted the site consists of a large compound with old trees and buildings of different age, size and material. The most important buildings consist of the ruined building on the corner of Hospital Street and east of this the L-shaped building plus the large stair­case with adjacent historic walls that connects the two buildings. In the yard the plateau forms a large open space. On the compound one also finds a large warehouse and a few smaller buildings. The old barracks building to Hill Street disappeared in a fire and the existing building was built in the 1960’ties and occupied by Department of Education.

Architectural Concept

The architectural concept for the 2 historic buildings and the space in bet­ween was created during the hurricane season 2017, primarily by Hildegunn Grønningssæter, Aarhus and assisted by Felicia Ferrante, St. Croix, engaged by Historic Houses of Denmark. They worked under supervision of architect Gerville Larsen, St. Croix and professor Mogens A. Morgen, Aarhus.

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The drawings discuss 3 different architectural approaches to the site:

1) Reconstruction based on careful studies of historic drawings by reproduc­tion of 1835 form, details and materials or

2) Reinterpretation of the 1835 form in a different material that creates a reversible addition to the existing fabric. The dominant material suggested being corten steel that creates a mat and dark surface with large openings and

3) Transformation by addition and continuation of the wall in brick that crea­tes an irreversible, direct meeting clearly visible in new and old material. The dominant material is suggested to be yellow brick that creates a shady but open construction.


Project Goals

  • Educational facilities for students within architecture and crafts

  • Exhibition space and café for the community

  • Amphitheater or other outdoor spaces

  • A small research center for the archive’s studies

  • Workshop facilities for especially carpentry

  • 2 small dwellings for guest professors

  • Courses for architectural students. 2 years associates degree, with guest professors from Danish schools and other schools. It could take place in collaboration with other US schools of architecture.

  • Courses for artisans and craftsmen, high end practical courses tutored by conservationists: Guest professors from Danish craft schools and other schools of conservation.

  • Ruin restoration, aesthetics, statics, maintenance

  • Masonry, mortar, lime and wash. 1:1 hand on - on site

  • Carpentry, how to build a pavilion in timber with joints of mortise

  • and tenant

  • Mahogany furniture, restoration and polish

  • Carpentry, how to build and repair shutters and louvers

  • Paint, how to prepare for painting, what type and color of paint should be used for historic houses

  • Sustainable design; energy consumption, design in urbanism and how to use reclaimed material

  • 3d modeling and design

  • Entrepreneurship; how to create a business plan and strategy

  • Tourist facilitator, service, sales, guidance

  • Courses in site management for building Owners and Stuarts.

  • Workshops to develop architectural strategy for the towns.