Howard University Alumni Selected as Finalists to Design Jamaica’s New Houses of Parliament Complex


WASHINGTON (March 27, 2019) – Five Howard University-trained architects, an engineer and a business and real estate development finance expert are among the finalists competing in the Jamaican Government’s Houses of Parliament Design Competition, a multi-million dollar opportunity to be selected as the principal designers of Jamaica’s New Houses of Parliament Building complex. Alumni Leland E. Edgecombe, Emerson C. Hamilton, Emmanuel Mdingi, Nicholette Gordon, and Victor R. McNaughton of the Department of Architecture, Cheryl P. Hamilton of the Department of Real Estate Real Estate Development and Asset Management, and Milton Evering of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, are members of The National Veranda HOP5 Design Team, one of five teams selected from hundreds of global submissions. A final selection of the winning team is expected in late March 2019. 

The five teams chosen for the final design stage were required to present fully developed design plans and models following guidelines cited in the competition design brief. Jamaica’s Prime Minister, The Most Honorable Andrew Holness, says that the government is determined to build a complex that all Jamaicans can be proud of, praising the design competition for bringing democracy to the process. According to the competition website, the new Houses of Parliament Building is slated to occupy a commanding position in the National Heroes Park, the largest public park located in Kingston, Jamaica. It will feature monuments and the burial site of former Prime Ministers and national leaders. Emerson Hamilton is executive architect for The National Veranda Design Team, and says, the “team’s concept reflects the rich, diverse and strong heritage of the Jamaican people, while conveying a modern, iconic government building that invites civic engagement and serves as a gateway entrance to Kingston”. He also explained that the project is especially meaningful to him due to the close proximity of his birth location to National Heroes Park.

Construction of the new building is part of the country’s National Heroes Park Redevelopment and Government Campus Project, which includes plans to redevelop Kingston’s downtown area. The National Veranda calls for 95 percent of the site to be publicly accessible, featuring a 10-acre recreational complex, children’s splash parks, jogging paths, just to name a few. The interior design includes sun, shade and shelter, to capture the island’s iconic breeze indoors, and incorporates the colors and shape of the Jamaican flag. 

“HOP5 team’s design sets the foundation for a reinvigorated Kingston, Jamaica, while remaining sensitive to the city’s planning initiatives and cultural identity,” says Project Landscape Architect and Urban Designer Leland Edgecombe. “Many activities within the local community will be connected throughout the overall project site, which reflects both Jamaica’s past and represents the future of the country under the new Prime Minister and government.”

Launched in May 2018, the competition was open to international design teams that included a registered Jamaican architect. Guenet Sissaye Anderson, of the GSA Associates Group, serves as lead architect for the HOP5’s 16-member Design Team.  

“Parliament is the center of our democracy, it is where the future of our country and our people is decided, it must represent the best of us all,” says Anderson. “The ‘National Veranda HOP5’ is bold, embracing, open and transparent and inviting. A facility for and representative of The Jamaican People.”

The Office of the Prime Minister says the five final teams were chosen from more than 200 international submissions. The winning design team will be awarded $5 million, in addition to an opportunity to work with the project’s contractor to execute the design. The second ranking team will be awarded $4 million, with the third-place team set to receive $3 million. The public had an opportunity to weigh in on the competition by choosing their favorite design for The People’s Choice Award. While votes for The People’s Choice Award may not contribute to the selection committee’s final decision, the vote serves as an additional layer of democracy and community involvement during selection process. For additional information on The National Veranda HOP5 Design Team, visit



Image 1 - Rendering of National Veranda

Image 2 - Rendering of National Veranda

Image 3 - National Veranda Team - (R-L): Cheryl Hamilton (HU), Antonella Cortez, Guenet S. Anderson (Team Lead),Alaina Gentlesand Enrique Astiz. Rear Left: Emerson Hamilton (HU), Leland Edgecombe (HU), Adam Bridge, Emmanuel Mdingi (HU) and Dwhyte Batson. 

About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 70 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit

Media contact: Ramzey Smith, Office of University Communications,