Jamaica Houses of Parliament

Government of Jamaica
Size ( sq. ft.)


The Government of Jamaica invited Architects to submit designs for a new Houses of Parliament, in a Competition organised by its Urban Development Corporation. Atelier-Vidal + Adjaye Associates partnered to create a design that reimagines the notion of a tropical civic building. The design received the Silver Medal in the competition.



The Grand Verandah draws from the importance of the verandah as an integral part of Jamaican lifestyle and architecture, but at a larger, civic scale. Situated to overlook the memorials of the National Heroes Park,The Jamaica Houses of Parliament rises from the ground as a beacon of Hope, Resilience and Empowerment.

The existing urban landscape is transformed with widened roads, tree-lined sidewalks, bike lanes and on-street parking.The open park design connects to its environs with multiple access points, meditative gardens with natural walkways, sustainable water features, play areas and a jogging trail for everyday use.

The formal entry to the Houses of Parliament is accessed from the North boundary of Heroes Park on axis with the Proposed National Museum of Jamaica. On approach, the procession moves along a gently sloping mound, created to elevate the Grand Verandah and bestow feelings of enlightenment and optimism. At the top of the hill, the pavilion-like structure with a seemingly oating roof and rotund objects in a transparent enclosure is gleaming — elegant, stately, pure.

The Verandah is experienced as an open field of columns supporting a large horizontal canopy with perforations that mimic Lignum Vitae blooms and traditional fretwork design, allowing dappled light to pull visitors in.

At this level, the building is composed of 3 main elements — two conical volumes within an energy efficient shingled glass enclosure and the sweeping solar roof canopy.

Inside, the building opens to an expansive multifunctional concourse level with a 35-foot high ceiling and views of the South lawns and memorial gardens. Flanking opposite sides of this level, are the truncated cone with separate entries that position the concourse as a backdrop for open debate, discourse and transparency. The Senate is housed in the lower inverted cone, clad in Jamaican Mahogany; while the House of Representatives, clad in Jamaican Limestone is towering and pierces the roof canopy allowing sunlight to bathe its interior.

The building reveals itself through a triple-storied opening that connects the concourse to the Parliament museum, Library, Parliamentary offices and services located on the lower levels.These levels are accessed by a ramping staircase along the South edge of the enclosure, offering glimpses of the park and monuments as you descend. On the lower levels, offices and support services envelop both chambers, while the most public of these spaces connect with the ground plane of the park.The raised verandah allows these spaces to be flooded with natural light, creating a comfortable work environment.

A large reflecting pool is situated along the southern edge of the building and functions as part of the passive cooling systems.The water imbues notions of reverence and reflection by creating a moment of pause between the Memorial gardens and the Houses of Parliament. In this moment, the architecture is a dialogue — an agency for empowerment and transformation for the future of Jamaica.


David Adjaye | Nicole Auden | Andre Baugh | Shanique Brown | Anthony Hyatt | Vidal Dowding | Joe Franchina | Imani Lawrence | Joanna Henke-Brown | John Samuels II | Rochelle Sanford | Ravi Sittol | Dewayne Webb | Jheanine Wiggan