Renowned architect Geoffrey MacLean dies

Renowned architect, historian and author Geoffrey MacLean died on April 1. - File photo
Renowned architect, historian and author Geoffrey MacLean died on April 1. - File photo

Renowned architect and conservationist Geoffrey MacLean has died.

MacLean, 82, died on April 1 after a battle with cancer.

He was born in Pointe-à-Pierre in 1942.

Educated at St Peter’s School, Pointe-a-Pierre, and Presentation College in San Fernando, MacLean studied architecture at Bristol University in England.

He was an architect based in Port of Spain and a co-curator of Medulla Art Gallery (formerly Aquarela Galleries).

MacLean was well known for his promotion and publication of works related to the historic and contemporary art and architecture of Trinidad and Tobago.

He researched the history of several heritage buildings such as Whitehall in St Clair, where the Office of the Prime Minister is located.

He was a leading authority on Michel-Jean Cazabon, Trinidad’s great 19th-century artist. His knowledge of Cazabon is reflected in books he published in 1984, 1986, 1999 and 2016.

MacLean curated local art collections for exhibitions in London, Paris, Bonn, Toronto, Martinique and Dominica.

Among those paying tribute to MacLean was Prof Mark Raymond, director of the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Raymond was deeply saddened to learn about MacLean's death.

"I first met him when I was in my teens, at the house of Justice Ulric Cross in Federation Park, when I was contemplating my own future as an architect."

Raymond said, "At that time he was working in Dominica, where he collaborated with Tony Gibbs (a Grenadian engineer) on a number of significant buildings. He was a talented and humane architect with a mischievous sense of humour."

Patricia Bissessar, curator of the Angelo Bissessarsingh Virtual Museum of TT, also paid tribute to MacLean. She said many people may know him as one of the leading contributors to the museum.

But Bissessar added there were other dimensions to MacLean's life which were not so well known.

She said many people "have no idea of the outstanding contributions he has made to our heritage and cultural aspects to TT as well as being an advocate for the preservation and conservation of heritage sites and historic buildings in TT."

The latter includes the conservation of buildings such as Whitehall and Killarney (Stollmeyer's Castle).

MacLean's biography indicates that during his life he edited and prepared dossiers for listing for the National Trust and Citizens for Conservation for approximately 50 sites related to local architectural and natural heritage

Bissessar said, "Today I want to pay a special tribute to Geoffrey MacLean, a man of integrity, honesty and a true patriot of TT."

She added that MacLean was one of Bissessarsingh's best friends, motivators and mentors "from the date they met right up to the very end."

Bissessarsingh, an amateur historian and author, died on February 2, 2017, from pancreatic cancer at 34.


"Renowned architect Geoffrey MacLean dies"

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