ST GEORGE'S, Grenada -- The new Grenada House of Parliament building is one step closer to reality, as a design has now been settled upon.
Local company, COCOA Architecture survived a thorough pre-qualification process to be selected from among seven final entrants as the winner of a design competition for the structure.
In winning the competition, managed along international guidelines, COCOA Architecture won itself US$30,000. A second prize of US$15,000 was awarded to ACLA Works from Trinidad and a third prize of US$5,000 to TVA Consultants, also from Grenada.
The process toward a new Grenada House of Parliament began in 2009 when then prime minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd responded positively to a personal request from Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
The government of Australia, through the Australian International Aid Agency agreed to provide design funds and part of the construction budget to the tune of US$5 million.
The Australians provided an architectural consultant to develop the design brief and supervise the judging of the competition as well as the prize money.
The United Arab Emirates are also contributing significantly to the project, providing almost US$2 million towards construction.
The seven shortlisted Caribbean firms were judged under the criteria: modern design, functional layout, cost effectiveness, portrayal of Grenada’s Westminster traditions, incorporation of St Georges architectural heritage, green environmental footprint and landmark building.
The Cabinet-appointed chairman of the seven-member jury was chief technical officer in the Ministry of Works, Cecil Harris. His team consisted of representatives of the Willie Redhead Foundation, the Office of Parliament, the Democratic Compound Committee, the Grenada Arts Council, the Grenada Architects Association and the Grenada Institute of Engineers.
The next steps towards the realization of a new House of Parliament involve completion of the detailed design drawings, short listing of contractors, tender submissions by the contractors and the contract award. Construction is anticipated to start by the end of the second quarter of 2013.
The following considerations were used to select the winning design:
• A contemporary 21st Century civic building which of all the submissions the jurors considered best addressed the architectural brief’s modernity criteria.
• The functional layout was judged the best of the seven submissions
• The layout takes good advantage of the surrounding views and the outlook across the Lagoon surrounds, the Carenage and Fort George.
• The chamber layout was judged the best of the seven submissions.
• The architects have very successfully fused contemporary design with heritage construction and design features.
• The building is well orientated on the site to maximize natural light and breezes.
• The jurors considered that the building has a “gravitas” that recognises its importance as a symbol of democratic governance and a place where serious debate and decisions are made and the business of government is legislated.
• The building design demonstrates a distinct sense of place and reflects longevity, solidity and permanence, qualities that reinforce good governance principles.