Charmaine graduated from Howard University’s Architecture programme in 1988 and became registered with the Board of Architecture of Trinidad and Tobago in 1995. After working at RTKL Incorporated (now CallisonRTKL) in Baltimore, an architecture, urban planning, design and creative services company that is part of the international Arcadis network, she returned to Trinidad to join Herrera Consulting Practice (now HCP Architects Limited). She later formed her own practice, CSW Architect Limited, and subsequently, co-founded co-rd Limited.
She sees great potential in deteriorated landscapes and spaces, and is drawn into ideas about how they could be transformed. Charmaine was one of the architects behind the Kids in Design initiative – a programme dealing with physical environment improvement geared towards primary schools – which not only taught kids about the architectural profession, but which also gave them a sense of empowerment with the realisation that they could change their physical environment.
When Colin graduated from the Architecture programme at The University of Arkansas in 1988, Trinidad and Tobago was in a recession, so he returned to the United States. Finding a good job in the architectural field wasn’t easy, but his tenacity paid off – he went to work at the New York City office of Highland Associates, a global architecture, engineering and interior design firm. Three years later, he returned to Trinidad to work for acla: Works (formerly Anthony C. Lewis Associates).
In 2002, he and Sean Leonard formed Basso Leonard Architects Collaborative Limited (BLAC), where he did a lot of regional work, including projects in Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia and Nevis. BLAC began collaborating with colleagues Charmaine Solozano-Ward and Mark Franco and in 2006, the quartet formed co-rd.
Colin is a Resistered Architect with The Board of Architecture. Over an eight-year span, he has served as Treasurer and Executive Member for the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Architects.
In 1983, Mark graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the highly regarded Rhode Island School of Design and returned to Trinidad to continue being mentored by his father, Architect Hayden Franco. Five years later, Mark and Hayden established their practice, Franco and Franco Architects Limited, extending their reach to Guyana, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Kitts in all sectors of the industry, including residential, commercial and hospitality projects.
Hayden’s death in 1998 dealt Mark a double blow – he had lost both a father and a business partner – but he proved his resilience by continuing the practice, working with Colin Basso and Sean Leonard on several projects. Their collaborations evolved into conversations about creating a more formal relationship; co-rd began operating in January 2006.
Mark is a past Chairman of the Board of Architecture of Trinidad and Tobago and has been a Member on several Executives of the Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Architects, and on which he currently serves as President.
After secondary school, Sean interned at the architectural practice of Anthony C. Lewis, after which he pursued his tertiary education at the reputable Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He worked in England for three years before returning to Trinidad in 1991, at which point he resumed working for Anthony C. Lewis Partnership.
In 1996, he started his own company and was soon joined by Colin Basso. Their firm, Basso Leonard Architects Collaborative Limited, founded in 2002, garnered regional (FCAA) and local (TTIA Abel/Bestcrete) design awards.
Since 2001, Sean’s involvement in television and stage set design has won him a Cacique award and several set design nominations from the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago. In 2006, Sean co-founded co-rd Limited with the three other directors, as well as Alice Yard – an independent contemporary art space that supports the presentation, collaboration and experimentation of artists and practitioners across a range of creative disciplines, locally and internationally.