Red House restoration

Due for handover soon: A view of Red House yesterday after the temporary roof was removed. Photo: ROBERT TAYLOR

THE glint bouncing off the new copper roof on the Red House was hard to miss yesterday.

The former seat of Parliament is on its way to being ready for occupancy, the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT) said.

Finishing works are under way.

But the new roof of the Red House will eventually lose its shine and earn a more sombre patina, a UDeCOTT official said, as copper oxidises over time to become green in colour.

Due for handover soon, the Red House has been under resto­ration for about 20 years, with a budget of over $441 ­million.

In 2011, it was replaced as the seat of Parliament by the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) hotel on the International Waterfront at Wrightson Road, in what was supposed to be a temporary ­arrangement.

The restoration works have hit several snags over the years, causing delays and concerns that the iconic building was ­being left to crumble.

UDeCOTT, which assumed responsibility for the project in 2005, said yesterday the work seen here is the “rendering of the external walls of the Red House, in preparation for final painting”.

“The Red House has undergone major restorative works, which included the building’s retrofitting to current seismic codes, to withstand strong earthquakes,” the UDeCOTT official told the Express.

The building has undergone extensive retrofitting, excavation and the installation of new floors.

One of the project’s setbacks occurred in 2013, with the discovery of artefacts dating back to T&T’s indigenous population before colonisation.

These included human and animal skeletal remains and cultural artefacts such as pottery, weapon shards and shells.

The discovery prompted ­descendants of the First Peoples to call for a halt to the works until the sacred remains could be ­ceremoniously relocated.