Living in Mauritius: Traditional Architecture of Mauritius

Isabelle Desvaux De Marigny, Author, Christian Vaisse, Photographer, Christian Saglio, With Thames & Hudson $40 (0p) ISBN 978-0-500-23603-1
The wooden houses of Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean, may have evolved in part as an architectural reaction to such facts of nature as tropical downpours, humidity and cyclones. But however mundane the cause, the results are charming and take in a surprising amalgam of divergent yet harmonious styles. Color photographs and sketches pay homage to the European influences in a provincial Eden, explained in a clear and attentive text by several residents. The typical Mauritian home combines the impact of the French, the first settlers, who brought ornate wrought-iron balustrades and turreted or gabled roofs with them in the 18th century (their miniature chateaux sport names like ``Malmaison'' and ``Mon Desir'') and the 19th-century English, who fancied sprawling open or closed verandahs supported by stately columns reminiscent of American Southern plantations. With their often intricately carved fretwork, these buildings resemble giant white birdcages, silhouetted against a cobalt-blue sky. Halcyon interior shots are also included. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
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