Jackson Burnside III
Jackson Burnside was born and raised on New Providence, The Bahamas. For much of his life, Burnside was a noted Bahamian architect and painter. He is also remembered as an educator, Junkanoo advocate and entrepreneur.
Education and training
Burnside graduated from Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) and the Graduate School of Fine Arts of The University of Pennsylvania. He studied and worked with the world-renowned Architect Louis I. Kahn and with Arup Associates, a division of the world-acclaimed Ove Arup Partnership (London England). While with those ﬁrms he worked on industrial and institutional projects in the United States, Bangladesh, Iran, Israel and England.
Burnside was the ﬁrst Bahamian senior architect for the Bahamas Ministry of Works. He also spent time as a lecturer at the College of The Bahamas and outside the country as a visiting professor at the School of Architecture, University of Miami. Through his educational work, he encouraged his students to examine their architectural heritage for its “common sense”. He shared his belief in the importance of understanding appropriateness of material, climatic conditions, natural light, structure and client requirements in developing designs that would fit in with their natural environments.
At the time of his death Jackson Burnside was appointed chairman of the Board of the Caribbean School of Architecture Course Advisory Board on April 6, 2011. The appointment was made for three years with effect from June 30, 2011 to June 29, 2013.
In addition to establishing his own firm, Jackson Burnside Limited, he was the founder of Doongalik Design Studio, a concept that centered its architectural, furniture and design principles on Bahamian design innovation for this climate and Junkanoo aesthetics. He and his wife Pam were also spearheading a project to get Nassau recognized as a City of Design as part of UNESCO’s Global Alliance’s Creative Cities Network. Jackson believed when he said that someday soon (the year 2020) “more people would come to The Bahamas for arts and culture than for sun, sand and sea”. Pam Burnside still managed Doongalik Studios and carries this mission forward today.
Junkanoo and culture
Burnside was a co-founder and co-leader of the One Family Junkanoo group. A cultural advocate, he was the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizens Award for the Creative and Performing Arts and the 2008 Bahamas Home and Builders Lifetime Achievement Award. Throughout his career, he was actively involved in community and cultural affairs and he was chairman emeritus and a designer of the One Family Junkanoo and Community Organization Group.
“His enthusiasm for life itself and for the cultural diversity and richness of The Bahamas was infectious,” Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said. “His spirit and great enthusiasm will live on in our hearts. Moreover, his legacy in many ﬁelds of endeavour from his professional success in architecture to his artistic craft to Junkanoo will endure.”
He added: “Over the many days, and weeks and months and years ahead, a grateful nation will mourn the passage of a native son who made us proud of him, and also made us proud to be Bahamians.”
Remembering Jackson Burnside:
Jackson Burnside suffered a brain aneurysm while with close friends and colleagues at a local book signing on April 14, 2011. He was airlifted to hospital in Florida, where he remained until his death on May 11.
Doongalik Design Studio
“What I learned from him was the value of your story, how important it is for you to share your life and the things that happened to you with others. Also the value of family and passion and courage. He was a man of passion, conviction and courage and he wasn’t afraid to tell anybody what needed to be said. He and I always sort of connected on that. He also taught me the importance of always needing to continue to feed yourself, to be a life long learner, and to not to be afraid to be excellent.”
- Dr. Erica James, former director of The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas
“Jackson taught me that I should explore the entire world, exhausting every faculty and opportunity that I have in order to achieve a greater awareness of myself and the world I live in. Jackson taught me how to communicate to people, not through traditional classes but through his interactions with others and myself. Jackson acted as a sponge; he soaked up inspiration and knowledge from far ﬂung places and from times I could never experience or imagine, and he emptied it out into our pool of resources for more to be rejuvenated. He showed me how to share.”