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8.4 Landmarks

In his theory of imageability Lynch (
1960: 78-79) defines 'landmark' as a singular physical element 'that is unique or memorable in the context'. An archetypal example is a tower with an open space next to it. There are other types of landmarks, too, however. Something may be singled out as an landmark for instance for its cleanliness in a dirty city, or for its newness in a historical city. Objects are defined here as major landmarks if they are clearly visible from several directions and have a certain particular character that makes them distinguishable from their environment. Major landmarks of Roseau are presented in Figure 14 (see also Appendix 1).

During the study period, the most striking example of a landmark in Roseau was the Fascination, a cruise ship that kept visiting Roseau every Tuesday. It stands out in every respect: it is huge, it is new, and it is white and clean. It is visible far from the heights of Goodwill to the downtown area (Fig. 15). Due to their impermanence in the city, however, Fascination and other large cruise ships do not serve as guides for orientation in the city except for the cruise ship passengers. Otherwise, there is an apparent lack of major landmarks in Roseau. Most notable of these is the Roman Catholic Cathedral (see e.g. Figs. 42 and 58). It is built on the top of a hill, and it is therefore visible in many parts of the city. Also the Bishop's residence next to it stands out in its whiteness.

On the other hand, the landmark character of the Cathedral declines in the vicinity of the cathedral itself. On Virgin Lane--where the cathedral is situated--it is visible only when next to it. The tower of the nearby Methodist Church, however, stands out as a major landmark in that part of the city (Fig. 16). It gains this status due to its location in the corner of Virgin Lane and Cross Street. If Cross Street was more extensive in its length the tower would serve as one of the major landmarks for the whole city.


On the Bay Front, the most visible building is the customs house due to its location on the jetty. Other, minor landmarks are not so easy to distinguish since on the waterfront most of the buildings are clearly visible from a distance. The Post Office stands out in its yellowness, but its location next to the major landmark on the jetty reduces its landmark quality. Cartwheel Café situated in one of the oldest buildings in Roseau stands out in its smallness compared with neighbouring buildings. However, apart from the jetty, two other buildings stand out remarkably. In the middle of the Bay Front is the Nassief building which is new, larger than the ones next to it, and white. An empty lot on the other side of Cork Street emphasizes the building. The largest building on the Bay Front is Garraway Hotel, which is visible not only from the waterfront boulevard but also when approaching it from the SE.

In the middle of the Inner City grid few buildings stand out. Most notable is the new, white, and high KFC Building where the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant is situated in the corner of Great Marlborough and Great George Streets (Fig. 16). A couple of other buildings in different parts of the Inner City stand out, too, in their whiteness and size (see Appendix 1).

Robert Ferras (1990: 26, 104) writes about cities that have a certain dominant colour. The colour is part of their appearance. Many cities, however, are grey. Roseau is not. Moreover, one cannot really find any dominant colour for Roseau since the city is full of colours. It is largely for this reason why many buildings stand out in their whiteness, since in the middle of all the colours white becomes distinct. In Roseau, white is also often combined with the larger size of the buildings thus enforcing the landmark effect.

Not only white but also grey becomes distinct in the middle of colours. The large blocks of Government Headquarters in the northern corner of the Inner City are clearly one of the most notable landmarks of the city (Fig. 17). A large empty lot next to them increases their landmark character which is, however, reduced by the remote location.

Outside the Inner City only few buildings rise up as major landmarks. The sign post of Texaco gas station in Potter's Ville is one of them. It is visible far from the other end of Great George Street. Another landmark in Potter's Ville is a white building in the corner of Goodwill Road and Federation Drive in, the landmarkness of which is emphasized by the location in the corner of two major traffic routes. In Goodwill, the major landmarks are a three-storey apartment building in Lower Goodwill that is visible from various locations in the Goodwill district, and the Goodwill Junior High School. Apart from its relatively great height, the first gains its landmark position also due to its distinctive green colour. Outside the Inner City district white and grey become the more prevailing colours due to which colourfulness becomes a distinctive factor. Goodwill Junior High School, on the other hand, leaves the Goodwill Church next to it in a minor position since the latter is located below a hill.

The Baroque-type street network of Goodwill with long axes creates several suitable locations for landmarks but few of them, however, have any landmark-like constructions. Princess Margaret Hospital occupies the prime location in the corner of Federation drive and Charles Avenue but hidden behind the landwalls is barely visible from the street. The West Indies gas station nearby--in the corner of Federation Drive and Winston Lane--is therefore the major landmark on the sides of Lindo Park, especially at night when it is lighted.



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