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Professor @ University of Costa Rica


Valeria Guzmán Verri teaches at the School of Architecture at the University of Costa Rica, with Visiting Academic positions at Southeast University, Nanjing, and the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica. She holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Histories and Theories of Architecture from the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London and a Diploma of Architecture from the University of Costa Rica. Her latest publication Gifting Architecture: China and the National Stadium in Costa Rica, 2007–11 examines architecture as gift and the burden of reciprocity in the context of China’s diplomatic drive in the Global South. Currently she is Visiting Researcher at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3.

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Social Media


Science and Urban Design



resistance: the design of Houses of Parliament in Jamaica 2017-2019 Since the beginning of the twenty-first century a new architecture built by means of a diplomatic-financial formula between Chinese and Caribbean governments has been reshaping the region with stadiums, highways, hospitals, government buildings and high-rise housing. The case of Jamaica is of particular attention, since it functioned as a port of entry in the Caribbean for a formula which interlocks diplomacy with finance and the construction industry. Despite the secretive nature of the negotiations for some of these ventures, forms of resistance have been articulated over recent years. In 2017 a Chinese construction firm and the Office of the Prime Minister signed a memorandum of understanding for the design, construction and finance of a general redevelopment project across downtown Kingston, which included the Houses of Parliament in National Heroes Park and a government campus. This study examines the criticism from architecture and construction professionals as well as the public debate to the serious spatial consequences of the content of the memorandum. Concerns ranged from the implementation of the proposed financial model, to the destruction of entire neighborhoods and the exclusion of competent local professionals from the architectural and construction sectors, especially so given the symbolic scope of any project for the Jamaican Parliament. Drawing on official government sources, interviews with key players, key newspapers and on-site visits, this study follows Sylvia Wynter and Katherine McKittrick’s plantation thesis: on the one hand, as an ongoing spatial logic of exploitation and dispossession that shapes the modern world, on the other hand, a model that demands innovative forms of resistance.