The Jamaican Houses of Parliament are currently located at Gordon House in downtown Kingston. - Photo: Jamaican Information Service

The Jamaican government is inviting Jamaican architects at home and abroad to take part in a competition to design the country’s new Houses of Parliament.

The Urban Development Corporation, on behalf of the Jamaican government, is asking qualified and eligible Jamaican architects who are registered and licensed in Jamaica to submit their best representation of what the new Houses of Parliament should look like. Competition organizers said that while teams may consist of individuals from other nationalities, the teams must be predominantly Jamaican.

The concept, according to the competition design brief, includes a parliament complex to be located within the confines of the National Heroes Park, nestled among recreational spaces, gardens and green spaces, “requiring the entire multi-purpose site to operate as a cohesive cultural and heritage environment.”

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during his keynote at the competition launch last month, said, “These discussions have been on the table for over 50 years, so today is truly a historic day for the redevelopment of downtown Kingston.”

He added, “Just imagine, that in a few years from today, our National Heroes Park and the wider downtown area could be transformed into a vibrant, enviable, iconic destination that compares to anywhere in the world.”

An evaluation jury comprising of industry experts and professionals will select the top five entries to advance to the next stage. The finalists are required to work with a lead architect, who is registered with the Jamaica Institute of Architects, to provide fully developed design plans and models following the guidelines laid out in the competition design brief.

Chairman of the Urban Development Corporation, Senator Ransford Braham, said, “The King George VI Memorial Act allows for the allocation of up to 11.4 acres of space for the construction of the Parliament Complex within the park, out of the 50 acres available. This means the vast majority of the space must be devoted to public use and green spaces, which is consistent with the design brief and which all competitors are expected to follow, along with all other competition rules and guidelines.”

Five finalists will receive an award of JA$2 million for advancing to stage two of the competition. Judges will announce the ultimate winner in February 2019. They will be awarded a further cash prize of JA$5 million, and will get the opportunity to work alongside the contractor as part of the implementation team. Second place entry will be awarded JA$4 million, while third place will be awarded JA$2 million.

According to a government press release, the construction of the Houses of Parliament complex is a key step in the plan to redevelop downtown Kingston.

Architects can register at www.ourjaparliament.com before June 14 in order to officially enter the competition. No submissions are required at this time.