Parliament design winner to be unveiled next week
In just about a week, Jamaicans at home and abroad will know which of the five finalists in the Houses of Parliament Design Competition would have won the right to have their concept chosen as the blueprint for the country’s first dedicated Parliament building.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness will make the announcement on Wednesday, March 27, at an awards ceremony at National Heroes Park.
It is now a wait-and-see atmosphere for the finalists, who made a last stand with the just-ended People’s Choice Exhibition at the National Gallery in downtown Kingston between January 29 and February 28.
The People’s Choice Exhibition showcased three-dimensional models, animated videos and detailed concept drawings from which the public would have voted on their choice, which may aid the judges in arriving at a final decision.
The finalists are Team National Flower, led by well-known architect and businessman Stephen Facey; Design Collaborative, with lead architect Evan Lewis; FORM Architects, with the team led by Damion Edmonds; the young but ultra high-tech firm Atelier Vidal; and GSA Architects, with Guenet Anderson at the helm.
Leighton Whyte, senior project manager at the Urban Development Corporation, said that overall, the process has been a total success and, in some instances, has surpassed expectations.
“When we began this process, primarily the People’s Choice Exhibition, we thought it would have gone down well with the public, but from all indications, it went extremely well. It was well supported by the public. The online traffic was even more impressive than we first thought ,with upwards of 8,000 votes for any one entrant,” he told The Gleaner.
He pointed out that votes were not exclusive to Jamaicans at home, noting strong interest from members of the diaspora in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, in particular.
“The entire process has gone extremely well, and now, we await the announced winner, and once we have that announcement, which no doubt will be massive, we will then move into negotiations with the winning team before getting into the actual design phase and construction later on in what is a long but exciting process,” said Whyte.
The ultimate winner will be awarded a cash prize of $5 million. They will also get the opportunity to work alongside the contractor as part of the implementation team for the project. The second-placed entry will receive $4 million, while third place will receive $2 million.
Construction of the new Parliament building forms part of the National Heroes Park Redevelopment and Government Campus Project, part of a master plan to redevelop the entire downtown Kingston.