Wall House Museum

Historic Renovation Cultural Adaptive Re-use of Existing Ruins in Gustavia

Eventful History
The Wall House Museum is one of the oldest and most prominent buildings on the island and thus has an eventful history.  The exact date of it's construction is unknown but it clearly dates from the Swedish period of the Saint-Barthélemy's history most likely from about 1791–1801.  Given the context of that era, it would have been a monumental construction and the quality of the original stonework reflects that.

Unfortunately, the original building lost it's roof to fire during the earthquake of February 8, 1843 and sat in ruins for many years.
Ruins of the Wall House before renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Ruins of the Wall House before renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

The Wall House Museum after renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

The Wall House Museum after renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Eventually a plan was created to renovate the historic ruins into a functioning modern museum and library during the late 1970s but it was another 15 years before the funds could be raised.  The reconstruction was a structural challenge as only the exterior walls remained and they were unsuitable to meet modern construction standards for protection from the hurricanes and earthquakes that the Caribbean is prone to.  The solution involved the construction of a structural skeleton within the remaining old walls that provided the necessary rigidity to insure the safety of the building for modern use.  Details of the reconstruction included angle stones imported from Saint Kitts and other façade stones locally sourced in Gustavia.
Ruins of the Wall House before renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

Ruins of the Wall House before renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

The Wall House Museum after renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

The Wall House Museum after renovation by Bureau Xavier David.

An excellent history of the Wall House is available via the Collectivité of Saint-Barthélemy's website which includes graphics and pictures: L'histoire du Wall House.

Project specifications
Architect Pierre Monsaingeon
Structural Engineer Bureau Xavier David
MEP Engineer Bureau Xavier David
Construction Manager Bureau Xavier David
Photographer Philippe Hochart (archival images), Bureau Xavier David
Project Location Gustavia, Saint-Barthélemy
Project Area 670 square meters (7, 200 square feet)
Project Year 1993
Hôtel Les Îlets de la Plage - Renovation of Existing Bungalows and Expansion to Create a Hotel in Saint-Jean

Hôtel Les Îlets de la Plage - Renovation of Existing Bungalows and Expansion to Create a Hotel in Saint-Jean

PREVIOUS PROJECT
 
Hôtel Le Toiny - Construction of a New Hotel in Toiny

Hôtel Le Toiny - Construction of a New Hotel in Toiny

NEXT PROJECT