By Sam Bojarski
The architectural firm Raco Deco’s winning design for a new national palace includes a grand boulevard running through the Champs de Mars square, a large pyramid honoring earthquake victims and a replica of the old palace structure that stood for 90 years.
The selection of a design “is indicative of the government and the people in Haiti starting to take the initiative to bring to the forefront a new vision for the country, so I think that is a point of hope and a point of optimism,” said Rodney Leon, owner of the New York-based Rodney Leon Architects. The firm collaborated with Archivolt S.A. to submit a design proposal that was not ultimately selected by the government.
President Jovenel Moise announced the design selection on Jan. 12, on the same day that 10 years ago a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake flattened the gleaming white palace. The country’s executives conducted business in makeshift offices following the earthquake and have since resided elsewhere in the capital. Moise’s announcement concludes a design competition launched in 2017. The government invited firms from around the world to submit proposals. A special Working Group on the Reconstruction of the National Palace (GTRRPN) oversaw the competition.
So far, the government has released minimal details on a construction timeline or an exact cost for the new palace. A funding mechanism is also unclear, but raising money from the diaspora was considered as of last year.
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