Government House Restoration Initiative, St. John’s, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda
Government House stands majestically as one of the last fine wooden Georgian structures to survive fire, earthquakes, and hurricanes in the Caribbean. As the seat of His Excellency, Sir Rodney Williams, Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Government House is where he fulfills his role as the representative of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of State.
The transformation uniquely engages and honours all persons who have contributed to its complex history – from the enslaved to the free – creating an essential marker in which all descendants can be proud of their heritage. Through global collaboration, the project brought together an international team of professionals working directly with Antiguans and Barbudans.
The process of restoration and rehabilitation included the opportunity to expand training programmes not only for professionals but also for the incarcerated, citizens, students, youth, volunteers, and the differently abled. This has expanded the importance of heritage to the local and international community by focusing on aspects of conservation, restoration, sustainable construction methods, masonry, woodworking, iron works, horticulture, therapeutic gardening, and high-end tourism products.
Noted as the first LEED-registered property in the region, Government House Restoration Initiative represents the union of conservation, inclusion, and sustainability; particularly relevant now as we look for best practices to withstand severe weather events. Successful efforts to maintain high standards have led to honours, including designation on the prestigious World Monuments Watch List for 2018, presentation at the 2018 Architectural Venice Biennale, and support from many private and civic benefactors, including The Prince’s Foundation and Conservation Fund.