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Manikin, The Art and Architecture of Anthony C. Lewis

Anthony C. Lewis. (b.1918-d.2008)

Written by Geoffrey MacLean

Anthony C. Lewis, born in 1918, is Trinidad and Tobago’s first and most respected architect. Manikin, the Art and Architecture of Anthony C. Lewis, traces Lewis’s life from a small filigree chattel house in San Fernando to international recognition as an Architect and Town Planner. Even as a student at McGill University, Lewis was seen to be unusually aware of his environment, in 1942 winning the Canadian Governor General’s Award for his thesis on Montreal’s expansion and a scholarship to study at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago as a student of Mies van der Rohe. He became a strong proponent of Miesian modernist philosophy and described his own work as being evolutionary and constant.

Returning to Trinidad, he moved away from the established and clichéd colonial designs developing concepts that suited the people and climate, both philosophically and physiologically.

Lewis is perhaps best known for the Church of the Assumption in Maraval, Port of Spain, a concept that in the 1940’s broke all the rules of tradition in plan and orientation, but is well suited to a West Indian environment. His use of indigenous materials reflects the influence of his surroundings, elements that he used in many of his buildings. This consciousness is also seen in the profound sensitivity of his watercolour paintings of the Caribbean landscape. The Church of the Assumption has been recommended to the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago for listing and protection.

Manikin, The Art and Architecture of Anthony C. Lewis, is the story of Lewis, as a family man, Architect and artist. With texts by Anthony C. Lewis, Geoffrey MacLean, Brian Lewis and Gerry Lewis, and graphic design by Melanie Archer, Manikin is published by ACLA Works, ISBN 978-0-578-03874-2

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