In 2018, the Government of Jamaica and the country’s Urban Development Corporation announced a design competition for a new Houses of Parliament to be built in Kingston’s National Heroes Park. A total of 24 international teams submitted their plans and, after an 18-month evaluation, it was revealed that “Out of Many, One People” had emerged as the winning concept.
The victorious group, led by architect Evan Williams from Design Collaborative – joined by fellow team members Daimian Hines, AIA (Hines Architecture + Design), Christopher Bent (Assoc. AIA), and Gregory Lake (AIA) – unveiled their final design in January 2020. All three are based in Houston.
Situated on an 11.4-acre property in Heroes Park, the design of this roughly 160,000-square-foot building embodies Jamaica’s Commonwealth government. Architectural designer Duane Hines wanted it to represent equity without any front, side or back.
To do this, Hines incorporated a ring of X-shaped columns that wraps the perimeter, symbolizing both the Jamaican flag and the connection between its citizens and elected officials. This feature was especially meaningful for Hines, having grown up in St. Mary Parish. Inside are chambers for the Senate and House of Representatives as well as atria and galleries—while the landscaping around it has been designed with local, drought-resistant plants.
The initial designs for the project were presented to stakeholders using models, renderings, and virtual reality. Feedback from the stakeholders and community was then taken into account and resulted in changes such as column scale and outdoor programming.
Hines states that 'Design is objective when there are enough voices at the table to provide inputs to make any design approach stronger'. With Williams Design Collaborative taking on construction, the project has an expected start date of 2021. The current circumstances with COVID-19 have presented some building constraints, however Hines affirms that this project is essential for Jamaica's identity and progress.
Project: Jamaican Houses of Parliament, Kingston, Jamaica
Design Architect: Hines Architecture + Design
Executive Architect: Design Collaborative
Landscape Architect: OJB Landscape Architecture
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
Civil Engineer: Vogt Engineering
MEP Engineer: DBR Engineering Consultants