Some of lovely examples of traditional Seychellois architecture are now being replaced through progress or advancement and although they are fewer in numbers, many, with their intricate roof structures are still standing today.
The architectural design of some of the grand old houses with their steep roofs are representative of a style adapted for comfortable living in the tropics that displays influences from Seychelles’ French and British colonial heritage. Modern architecture attempts to assimilate traditional styles with practical features designed to capture the island breezes.
Plantation estates were built around cinnamon, coconut, and vanilla industries. The traditional plantation estate focused on a courtyard with an owner’s or manager’s house, (the kitchen was usually separate from the house) the kalorife (drying oven for copra), and storage houses.
Typical town houses had a general Victorian form, but with its roofs and walls made of corrugated iron sheets.
As agriculture declined, many homes were later constructed in an architecture common to many former British colonies, such that there is often a flat roof with a slight slope and windows with many horizontally arranged panes that can be tilted in order to allow easy circulation of air.
A particular building of interest which should be visited is Kenwyn House on Mahe. This national monument is an excellent surviving example of French colonial architecture.
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Capucine House (the residence of the Roman Catholic Bishop) are two of the most impressive vestiges of the French Colonial era still standing and should definitely not be missed.
Such art and construction styles should be placed on record as an important part of Seychelles’ history. A unique cultural treasure, to be shared with those who take the time to truly explore the secrets of these beautiful Seychelles islands.