Jamaica unveils winning design for its new Houses of Parliament in Kingston

One People

Jamaica unveils winning design for its new Houses of Parliament in Kingston

Jamaica’s new Houses of Parliament will be designed by a team led by local architect Evan Williams of Design Collaborative. The group beat out 23 other teams, including ones with Adjaye Associates and Adrian Smith, in an international competition.

“Out of Many One People,” the name of the winning proposal, will be constructed in Kingston’s National Heroes Park. The team submitted a circular, monumental design reminiscent of a stadium. It features diagonal bracing on the exterior and includes surrounding landscaped areas for sports and cultural activities. Set within an 11.4-acre piece of parkland, the project is part of a master plan to redevelop downtown Kingston.

Aerial rendering of new Kingston parliament building
Set within an 11.4-acre park, the government building will be a catalyst for Kingston’s downtown revitalization. (Courtesy Hines Architecture + Design)

Jamaica launched the competition last May to find an architect to design the 160,000-square-foot building that will house both the legislative and executive branches of government. Gordon Gill, a partner in Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and a native of Jamaica, served as the competition patron.

To enter the race, there was one strict but unique rule: Eligible teams had to be led by a citizen of Jamaica, residing locally or abroad, who is also a registered and licensed Jamaican architect and capable of being the project’s architect of record. The teams also had to contain “at least 50 percent Jamaican citizens or persons of Jamaican heritage.”

Twenty-four teams entered, including groups from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Argentina, Turkey, Serbia, Iran, Trinidad, and Guyana. Five finalists were selected last fall, but “Out of Many, One People” won out. The jury called it a “grand and heroic gesture.” The entry was a collaboration between architect of record Evan Williams of Design Collaborative Architects and Town Planners, lead designer Damian Hines of Houston-based firm Hines Architecture + Design, as well as Christopher Bent and Gregory Lake. Their submission was also selected as the People’s Choice winner. 

The competition organizers, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) hope the government will line up funding in time to begin construction in 2021.

Other finalists are listed below. View their submissions here. 

Second place: “The Grand Verandah” 
Team leader: Ravi Sittol of Atelier-Vidal Ltd. of Jamaica.

Team: Atelier-Vidal Ltd./Adjaye Associates, including Vidal Dowding and David Adjaye.

Third place: “Ubuntu” (“I am because we are”)
Team leader: Damian Edmond of Form Architects in Kingston and Trinidad, West Indies.
The team included Edmond and Franz-Joseph Repole.

Fourth place: “National Flower”
Team leader: Stephen Facey, chairman and CEO of PanJam Investment Ltd. and Jamaica Property Company Ltd.
Team: Facey, Hugh Dutton, Laura Facey Cooper, Jenna Blackwood, and Patricia Green.

Fifth place: “A National Veranda”
Team leader: Guenet Anderson of GSA Architects and Planners in Jamaica.
Team: Anderson, Emerson Hamilton, Adam Bridge, Lee Edgecombe, Dwhyte Batson, Cheryl Hamilton, The Edgecombe Group of Hyattsville, Maryland., CTA Consulting Engineers and DCI Architects of Rockville, Maryland, SK&A Group, Moya Design Partner, Hamilton Associates, AMAR Grou, and Alter Urban Architecture of Washington, D. C.