PAST PRESIDENT OF tWRF visits University of Guyana Campus
It was not by accident that Norris Mitchell, past president of the Willie Redhead Foundation (tWRF) was on campus to lecture the Architectural students of the Department of Architecture at the University of Guyana.
Mitchell, as President of the Guyana Society of Architects was instrumental in the formation of the department, which started as a technical course in 1976. The relationship with the University is also linked to the fact that some of the more imposing buildings on the campus were designed by Mitchell during his sojourn in Guyana from 1966 – 1980 under the firm: NORRIS MITCHELL ASSOCIATES Chartered Architects and Urban Planner.
In lecturing the students Mitchell traced his (professional) journey from the Lance in the town of Gouyave – Grenada to Curacao, then to London England, onto Nigeria West Africa, then to Guyana and to Barbados and Canada, and his return FULL CIRCLE back to Grenada in 1987, when he founded the Willie Redhead Foundation in 1994 on the death of Wilfred (Willie) Redhead in 1993.
His recent two publications: Dynamics of Urban St. George and his memoir, In the Shadow of the Palace were on display, and brief insights on the latter were explained.
The students did not miss the opportunity to question Mitchell on the design and construction of the Guyana National Cultural Centre (1972-6), and the hurdles he had to overcome in completing this iconic Performing Arts Theatre, the largest of its kind in the English speaking Caribbean.
Opportunity was taken by Head of the Department – Mr. William Harris, requesting Mitchell to join him in the preparation of a compendium of Architectural Construction Details for students and practioners in the Tropics with special reference to the English speaking Caribbean.
The enthusiasm of the students reminded Mitchell of his students days in London and the maxim from one of America’s famous 20th century architect, who opined “no people can create except in its own subjective image” – Louis Sullivan. Echoes of sovereignty and National Identity.