The top five conceptual designs in the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) Houses of Parliament design competition were announced by the Urban Development Commission’s (UDC) launch of an exhibition on Wednesday, October 10.
Held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, the exhibition culminated the first phase of the competition, as submissions from teams led by Jamaican registered architects began in July.
The level of participation was impressive, by all accounts, with a total of 24 teams from 178 team members comprising local Jamaican interests as well as Jamaicans living in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Serbia, Turkey, Iran, United States, Trinidad, Guyana, Argentina and Italy.
Judging for the designs was based on a number of criteria, which included, concept and theory; architectural expression, language and form; and design’s relationship to context (urbanity).
That 24 was reduced to a quality, more fiercely determined, top five: The Stephen Facey/Hugh Dutton-led ‘National Flower’ concept; Ravi Sittol and Atelier Vidal Limited’s ‘Grand Veranda’ concept; Edward Williams and Design Collaborative’s ‘Out of Many, One People’ concept; the Damion Edmond, Form Architects Limited-led ‘Ubuntu: I am because we are’ concept; and Guenet Anderson/Adam Bridge/Emmanuel MDingi’s concept, ‘National Veranda’.
All five finalists were awarded a $2 million cash prize for advancing to stage two of the competition, with the ultimate winner being awarded a further $5 million when judging ends in February 2019 – as well as an opportunity to work as part of the implementation team. Second and third place will be awarded an additional $4 million and $2 million respectively.
These five teams are to submit more detailed designs, to include massing models, by December 18.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that the need for a purpose-built home of the Parliament has arguably been decades in the making, calling the competition a representation of Jamaican “architectural value and symbolism”.
“This creative methodology of allowing as many Jamaican architects to vision our new Parliament has resulted in some designs of significant quality. This is an important signpost in our country’s history and it is crucial for Jamaicans to be part of the process as partners,” he noted.
“As Jamaicans we should be enormously proud of what is presented by our architects and other professionals. They have risen to the challenge,” Holness added.
The public is encouraged to view the architectural designs on display through to Wednesday, October 24, between 9 am and 4 pm, Mondays to Fridays. A People’s Choice component will also allow the public to vote for their favourite designs come January 2019.
By Gavin Riley