In 1947 Robertson “Happy” Ward, the founding partner of the firm, opened his first Caribbean practice in Antigua, thus establishing RWA as one of the oldest functioning architectural practices within the Caribbean. At the time, with a group of like minded “friends of friends”, from the north eastern United States, who under Happy’s directorship and guidance purchased a 1,400 acre parcel of sugar-cane farmland located on the north eastern Antiguan coast, and set about founding a sporting and resort facility, which was to become the Mill Reef Club.
This was followed in 1958, with the opening of an office in Nassau which was to become the firm’s head office. The firm was commissioned shortly thereafter by Juan Trippe, CEO of Pan American World Airways, to master plan and design for the charter members, and himself, the Cotton Bay Club in Eleuthera. It is a matter of interest that the Club’s gated community was integrated within an 18 hole golf-course, which at the time was noted golf course designer Robert Trent Jones’ first, off-shore commission.
A third office was opened in Barbados in 1960, when the Firm was commissioned to design the original Sandy Lane Hotel, golf course and residential development. Thereafter, other offices were opened, beginning initially in London in 1966, Sydney and St. Lucia in 1971, Trinidad in 1976, and Cayman in 1982. RWA currently has fully functioning offices located in Antigua, The Bahamas and Barbados.