University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


This manuscript analyzes the use of ornamentation on the exterior of residential architecture, in early 20thcentury Trinidad, as a hybridized product of a class system developed during Colonialism. The manuscript begins with the examination of the socio-political context of late 18th, 19th and early 20th century Trinidadian society, looking specifically at how a boom in the cocoa industry in the 1870’s allowed social mobility for free coloreds and blacks. As a result, this nouveau bourgeois class of cocoa planters sought to affirm their status by displaying their identity in the strongly European influenced houses they designed. The architectural details and ornamentation of the Boissière House will be discussed in depth as a representative example of these nouveau bourgeois mansions. In conclusion, the paper will demonstrate the architectural influence of the elite on other aspiring classes.