In Search Of Truth: Please, Solve This Architectural Mystery

Architectural design fascinates me.

From the utterly ridiculous to the purely functional, it speaks of possibilities and challenges the limits of what can (or should) be done.

That being said, there is not much in way of interesting design that I have had a chance to experience up close. Let’s face it, I live on a tiny island in the Caribbean, which has a population of 2.7 million, so our buildings are built more for functionality and hurricane-proofing than award-winning design.

We do have the occasional ‘crowd-pleaser’, but there are times when pushing the limits can cause a stir in certain quarters, so I think it is safe to say that there exists no ‘Grand Designs Jamaica’ in the pipeline.

Stay with me now. I am getting to a point here.

It is always interesting to learn what ‘normal’ looks like in other parts of the world. What is commonplace for one is mind-boggling for another, and such is the nature of life on this planet.

There are a few things that you would not find in a regular, run-of-the-mill Jamaican home, which are ubiquitous in North America and Europe:

  1. Fireplaces are missing because we are in the tropics.
  2. Chimneys are useless in light of #1; and
  3. Attics.

On the subject of attics– this islander has questions.

I first learnt about attics at the feet of Carolyn Keene and Franklin Dixon during the 70s, so I saw attics as havens for spiders and convenient hideouts for human or rodent intruders. However, through the wonder that is the world-wide web, I have come to realise that there are modern homes with attics as well.


Source: Wikipedia

From storage for excess to height-deprived living spaces detrimental to six-footers or my claustrophobic self, attics have come into the twenty-first century.

In the quest for enlightenment, here is my question: Why?

If one is in possession of acreage, why an attic? Is it just traditional? Or is there a unique function that only an attic can perform?

Is there a height restriction on smaller plots of land that would prevent the construction of an additional full-height living space?

Google does not have all the answers, so I am depending on your brilliant mind to solve the mystery for me… not unlike Ms. Keene’s Nancy Drew.

**This is not a joke. I really do want to know.


One thought on “In Search Of Truth: Please, Solve This Architectural Mystery

  1. You know, I have NO idea for the reason behind attics. We have lived in this house 11 years and I’ve only been in the attic once. Hubby goes in the attic to check the insulation once a year, and we might send the cat up the attic ladder if we hear a mouse or squirrel scratching, but that’s it. We store our Christmas decorations up there, but nothing else. It’s too hot up there in the summer to store much else.

    We have no use for an attic, but I’d LOVE to have a basement!


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