The Urban Development Corporation’s project the Simόn Bolívar Cultural Centre (SBCC) has won the Jamaican Institute of Architects’ Award for Excellence in Remodelling/Refurbishing.
The Award was presented on May 31, 2014 at the Courtleigh Auditorium in New Kingston. The 2014 Jamaican Institute of Architects Award for Excellence in Architecture Competition ran from May 25 to May 31, 2014. The competition is open to Jamaican Architects and Firms that have completed projects over the last four years. This year over sixty entries were submitted covering eight categories. The SBCC won in its category out of a highly competitive field of seven entries.
According to Desmond Malcolm, UDC General Manager, ‘this award is another testament to the technical skill and expertise of the UDC team in carrying out projects of any scope having successfully refurbished a number of key landmarks such as the Port Maria Civic Centre, Montego Bay Civic Centre and the expansion of the Edna Manley College’.
UDC Chief Architect Kamau Kambui considers the prestigious award as a very special honour coming from his peers at the Jamaican Institute of Architects as it recognizes the excellence in the quality work being produced by the Architects at the Urban Development Corporation.
The Centre evolved from the request of the Venezuelan Government to the Jamaica Government in 2002 to establish a facility in Downtown Kingston to commemorate Venezuelan liberator Simόn Bolívar’s link to Jamaica. Venezuelan National Hero, Simόn Jose Antonio de la Santisma – Simόn Bolívar – resided in Jamaica in 1815 at 33 Princess Street in downtown Kingston. It was from here that he penned what is reputed to be his greatest written work, the “Jamaica Letter”. The Letter, it is believed, was Bolivar’s views on the independence movement in Venezuela and the form of government, which he deemed to be right for that country and, was in part his response to an invitation by the then English Governor of Jamaica to expound on the matter.
Based on the request of the Jamaican Government, the UDC acted as project managers by preparing architectural drawings; obtaining the necessary approvals drawings; and overseeing the construction of the Centre.
The construction of the Centre is part of the UDC’s plan for the redevelopment of downtown Kingston which aims to reposition the city as a cultural hub. The cultural centre in honour of Simόn Bolívar has been constructed at North Parade and Church Street in historic Parade, not far from Bolivar’s Princess Street address.
The centre comprises the Simόn Bolívar Exhibit Hall where the Jamaica Letter will be exhibited; an interpretation room; a library; three multipurpose rooms seating 50 persons each, and administrative offices.
The Centre will be officially opened soon.