CONCORD PLAZA AND INEZ BOGUES MUSEUM
An informal architecture has arisen which attempts to rehearse the unifying philosophy of Bob Marley, an architecture of fearless independence. One example of this architecture is a Rastafarian “museum”. Along one wall is a declaration of independence, over the entrance is implied a solution to the whole problem of Kingston which finds wide support: Divide the land fairly and let people get on with it. It is true that people who feel their land securely under their own feet become visible proof of the creative energy in Jamaica. Portmore, for instance, a dormitory suburb of Kingston, was intended as a low-cost housing development of dreary starter units regimented into the pattern of maximum returns. The minute people started settling there, these concrete and cheerless boxes underwent a wonderful metamorphosis: the boxes became castles of an extraordinary vitality.
It is a commonplace that architecture reflects daily habits of people according to the channels and obstacles by which it regulates movement and exchange. I would like to turn that commonplace around and formulate a question to end with: What happens when architecture becomes the only vehicle for physical security? When the fear of violence has changed domestic habit and subsequently changed the architecture enclosing that domesticity, how does the resulting architecture then begin to affect society? Surely it will provide security at the expense of the very life it tries to secure? I would like to end with an apocryphal but widely circulated conversation reported between a prisoner and an Uptown visitor: Prisoner: I am better off than you are. Visitor: How so? Prisoner: I shall be out of my cage in just three years.(8)