Architects in Dominica invited to participate in design competition for new national library

The Roseau Public Library after the devastation of Hurricane Maria

Architects in Dominica have been given the opportunity to come up with a suitable design for the construction of a national library.

The Dominica Library Architecture Competition for the selection of the new design was launched this week at the Jungle Bay Resort and Spa.

The Roseau Public Library – Dominica’s main library – was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and subsequent fires, leaving a major gap in the education sector.

The government says in its consideration of a future library, it took a decision to launch the design competition “to ensure that the building contains the valuable input from our local architects.”

Days prior to the launch of the competition, The Society for Historic Architectural Preservation and Enhancement, SHAPE, expressed alarm over a 13th March 2022 report in Caribbean News Global that a design for a new Roseau Public Library had been approved and that construction was due to begin within the next few months.

That report named MMC Development Ltd.  as the construction company that would “spearhead the development of the three-floor structure with a mounted tower that will house a clock similar to the Big Ben.”

SHAPE was concerned that it had not been consulted about this design despite having been invited to join a legally mandated committee (Public Library Act 1954) whose function was to determine the future of the library.

At the launching ceremony, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) in the Ministry of Public Works and the Digital Economy, Emile Lancelot said during an address, that the proposed new library building will be located in the same location of the present building and will host the traditional library functions , “and also expand its services to include an innovation hub, cultural and learning spaces, meeting spaces, exhibition spaces, cafe and recreational area.”

At the end of the competition which runs from March 24 – May 4, 2022, all submissions received will be reviewed by a review committee made up of the Chief Physical planner, an architect from the Ministry of Public Works, Chief Technical Officer of the Ministry of Tourism, the Chief librarian, Local Historian, Dr. Lennox Honychurch, a representative of the DAIC and the Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Public Works and the Digital Economy.

He said the competition is open to Dominicans currently residing on the island and qualified architects who are practicing in Dominica and who submit all relevant documents specified on the registration form, will be considered for this award.

“Documents should be presented in 8 ½ x 11 size or A4 format. Larger drawings may be presented in 11 x 17 or A3 format but folded to the 8 ½ x 11 size or A4 format,” Lancelot explained.

Participants in the competition must provide a narrative on the concept to a maximum of 2 pages, with side plans, floor plans and four elevations. They are also asked to present  one 3D drawing rendered, and a 3D exterior. Animation is optional.

Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria: suitability of design to the competition brief, spatial integration, functionality of the design solution, innovation, originality of the design solution form, environmental considerations, and adherence to reality.

Lancelot encouraged local architects to take advantage of this opportunity to make a contribution to the country’s development.

Education Minister, Octavia Alfred said the completion of the new library is highly anticipated and is expected to create “a major positive shift” in library and information services on the island.

“We look forward to advancing government’s E-initiation and increasing the digital and intellectual capacity of library users,” Alfred stated. “We look forward to a facility that will serve the City of Roseau and its surrounding communities and that will allow information services to be responsive and evolve further with the provision of adequate modern space that will incorporate the technologies for innovation and will encourage every Dominican to use the library.”

Minister for Public Works and the Digital Economy, Senator Cassanni Laville said he sees this competition as a remarkable opportunity to create a lifetime impression in Dominica and encouraged interested architects to review the concept brief and register on the Government of Dominica website to participate.

Meantime, Acting Chief Librarian, Renita Charles expects that the new Dominica Library architecture competition will bring out a wide range of ideas and concepts and give the government the choice of selecting that design which fits specific requirements.

She outlined what she described as straightforward factors which may contribute to the process of designing a modern dynamic library that is technologically advanced and be able to provide contemporary and engaging services and programs.

“Sustainable spaces with outdoor and green areas are likewise important along with the ability to provide abundant natural light,” Charles noted.

Following the end of the competition on May 4th, 2022, a review process is scheduled to be completed by May 8th 2022 with the announcement of the results on May 13th, 2022.

Below is the full concept brief document for the new library design.

Download (PDF, 405KB)

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  1. Anonymous
    April 2, 2022

    Dominica does not have a board of architects, so then who deems who are qualified architects since there are varying ways of qualifying to be an architect. Then what about the architects society? Not one representative from the society in a competition which are about the members of the society, do these engineers who form the major part of the review committee understand architecture and art? This is an insult in every manner of it. As a local architect I could never participate in this political extravagance to gain local support. I wonder how much was paid to the foreign firm for the big Ben concept. Each architect who submits a proposal should be receiving 5000 ec on a project of this level. It makes no mention of whether the winning concept architect will be awarded the project. This is a shame.

    • Roger Burnett
      April 4, 2022

      Well said!

      With the exception of yourself, Dominican architects appear to be deafeningly silent on the matter.

  2. April 1, 2022

    It is sad that you have nothing to offer your own people but just talk and criticize. Not even a laughable design you can come up with. You and your bosom body, Francisco Telemakak, are two of a kind.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10
  3. Lin clown
    April 1, 2022

    I hope they do not do like Athie Martin.He talked about shipping water,he said he and his company were ready for years He said he was waiting on government.When given the licence to export Athie said the islands he was supposed to ship to did not have storage tanks.They had not yet built storage tanks in the ground,And Mr,Professor IBO France don’t burst a blood vessel just yet,we need you to entertain us by harrassing DNO and posting BS comments on DNO.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10
  4. Eagle-Eyed
    April 1, 2022

    I am curious to see what alternative design SHAPE come up with considering their criticism of of the earlier design proposed.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13
  5. Ash Joseph
    April 1, 2022

    It is very good to see that people still truely care about our Island because ” What we do today will be there for a very long time”

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
  6. Jonathan Y St Jean
    March 31, 2022

    Since libraries are about education I find it a glaring omission that the ministry of education doesn’t have a representative on the committee. The authorities need to fix this glaring omission.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  7. Jonathan Y St Jean
    March 31, 2022

    Proof that pressure does burst pipe. By utilizing the existing talent in the country should result in a more appropriate design which will bring out more national pride. Pa kitteh yo pwenh Dominique hod nous.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4
  8. Odinn
    March 31, 2022

    Well, that is good news. The proposed design I saw a few weeks ago of the new library was laughable. The extravagant colonial appearance with huge balcony and high-rise clock tower was quite remarkable and indeed ridiculous. I know that architects and designers in Dominica probably have much better and more practical ideas.
    The “iconic” proposal is nothing short of “idiodic”, resembling a religious cult’s headquarters in California. And with an insulting and patronizing “Big-Ben” tower. Dominicans would be erecting an emblem of the colonial past and British oppression and mindset. Domincans can be extremely proud of removing the queen of England as their head of state in 1978 and now Barbados has followed. Soon Jamaica will thread in your path.
    What SHAPE says is entirely true; “The proposed design has no cultural integrity, it reflects nothing of Dominica…“

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4
  9. March 31, 2022

    “Papa met d little march for Peace in Roseau dat do dat nah” “mama I say is look it I find Skerrit and his gang well come out weee” :lol: :lol: :lol: looking for sympathy.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4
  10. Roger Burnett
    March 31, 2022

    The idea of a competition is all well and good but the design brief raises many questions. Including:

    (1) Are Dominicans presently studying at universities overseas for a degree in architecture eligible for entry?
    (2) Given that brief states: The “proposed site for this development” , can it be assumed that more suitable alternative sites within the city center may be considered?
    (3) It is not clear from the brief if the original library is to be retained or demolished?
    (4) The design brief states that: the Old DBS sales building is deemed a “heritage building” and as such, cannot be demolished. But heritage status should equally apply to the historic Carnegie Library?

    I understand that the organizers of the competition are now open to suggestions. But surely suggestions should have been solicited before the launch.

    An award of EC$5,000.00 is paltry considering the work involved. But our local architects may be desperate enough to accept crumbs from the table.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3
    • Roger Burnett
      April 1, 2022

      Since sending in the above comment I have had a response from the Secretary to the Minister for Public Works & The Digital Economy.

      I Quote:

      (1) The competition is for qualified Architects currently living on the island of Dominica.
      (2) The proposed site indicates only one site which is the site of the existing Library.
      (3) It left to the competitors to decide if they want to submit their proposal Restoring/keeping the old building or demolishing and proposing an entirely new structure.

      The Ministers response also clarifies a further question I asked, that being: Within the terms of the competition, what are the educational and experience requirements of a qualified architect?

      The Minister responded, and I quote:

      “A qualified Architect is an individual who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and practicing Architecture for a minimum of two years”.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
      • Gary
        April 4, 2022

        Are you taking up the Government challenge. The time is running out for submissions, here is your opportunity to make your mark, let us see what you can come up with. Time to stop talking an act.

        • Roger Burnett
          April 6, 2022

          Gary, under the entry rules of the competition I am not qualified.

          (1) I consider myself Dominican by long years of self adoption, but not by birth.

          (2) Although I have spent a lifetime preserving the identity of townscapes and advising on the restoration of historical buildings, I do not not have a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture.

  11. Ibo France
    March 31, 2022

    The Syrian debacle has the Skerrit led worthless government rolling out Plans of Distraction ever since this unthinkable decision came to light. This is like a scattershot hoping that one of the multiple of issues would find favour with the public.

    New Library, Majority Shares in DOMLEC, New Trust in Agriculture, Geothermal Energy hooked to the existing national l grid, etc. – All these are being solely done in a desperate effort to distract from the monumental blunders and the miserable lives of the people.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
    • Beta
      April 1, 2022

      As usual Ibo, you are right on the money.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
      • April 4, 2022

        That is just intended to keep both you and IBO busy thinking and talking not being idle. A plethora of projects after projects to keep your brains and muscles active otherwise they might atrophy.

    • Gary
      April 4, 2022

      The New Library, Majority Shares in DOMLEC, New Trust in Agriculture, Geothermal Energy, who are the beneficiaries of such things when implemented, how can these things be desperate efforts to distract the monumental blunders and the miserable lives of the people of Dominica, oh Ibo France with your pathetic imaginary nonsense, how long can you sustain that.

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