James Hamilton Architects pips finalists including Jestico & Whiles


Source: RIBA Competitions

Caribbean-based practice James Hamilton Architects has been named overall winner of a RIBA-run international design competition to create an exclusive private-island resort in the Bahamas.

The Turks & Caicos Islands firm beat proposals from a host of global practices. A list of six firms whose designs were also commended included Jestico & Whiles and SABI by Sabina Blasiotti, which is also based in London. Jestico & Whiles created the winning design for one element of the project brief.

The unnamed client for the Bahamas competition had sought proposals for a “highly sustainable destination to attract diverse groups of travellers, the yachting community and residents” for a private island a few miles from the Bahamian capital of Nassau.

The island was described as a former pineapple plantation that has no roads, no power, no water supply and no formal residential accommodation.

The RIBA competition asked entrants for a beach club, a remodelled marina and reception point, and high-specification accommodation for guests. A key requirement was that proposals should preserve the natural beauty of the island.


Source: RIBA Competitions

The harbour at the island

Announcing James Hamilton Architects as winner, RIBA Competitions said the practice had looked at travel and access to the island in a fresh way, “rising from the ground, providing circulation and amenities in three dimensions rather than focusing on buildings”.

It said the practice’s elevated-walkway proposal aimed to create a platform on which the development could expand with flexibility, with limited impact on the immediate and global environment, and at the same time as being future-proofed against sea-level rises or tidal surges.

RIBA added that a “unique benefit” of the proposal was its raised deck providing “a great vantage point with 360-degree ocean views”.

James Hamilton Architects said it was thrilled to take first-place in the competition, which resulted in a £25,000 prize.

“Our scheme ‘The Necklace’ is an extensive raised timber structure, which aims to offer new interpretation of the island whilst providing regenerative support facilities for the entire property,” it said.


Source: RIBA Competitions

RIBA said the client for the competition had chosen not to release images of the winning concept and other designs.

Jestico & Whiles was winner of the competition’s “marina concept” element and runner up with its design for the beach club. Cairo-based PANOPTYC was runner up in the marina concept category.

New York-based Liyang Wang was winner of the “accommodation concept” category. Runners up were: SABI by Sabina Blasiotti; Florida’s Studio Line Between; and Indonesia’s Mola Mucho.