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Blog 2 – Biblioteca

Knowledge is Power

001

There is a relatively young ‘lady’ situated at the Waaigat in Downtown-Curacao. She looks a little retro chic, her forms are exciting and her style is totally different from the ‘oldtimers’ around her. She has a strong presence in the street and between the typical colonial buildings around her, her 80’s architecture is a striking appearance.

 

Waaigat

002

Whether you are an enthusiast or you hate postmodernism, I think everyone with an eye for architecture is at least curious when they see such a building in this particular area. The center of Punda is steeped with cultural heritage. Everywhere you look you see beautiful, century-old colonial buildings, many of them are restored in their former glory by organizations such as Conservation or Stadsherstel Willemstad. But you will not easily find a building like the one at Abraham Mendez Chumaceiro Boulevard, on the waterfront of the Waaigat, in Punda. I am interested by this unique building and will look into this.

 

Biblioteca

003

On the front of the building is stated that the public library of Curacao is located here and since 2012, it bears the name: Biblioteca Nashonal Korsou, Frank Martinus Arion. The first stone was laid on July 4 1982, but the different departments resided in 1988 in the then ultramodern building. The building consists of two floors and has a total of 5.000 square meters. For the first time since the establishment of the library in 1922, all services and departments could fit together in one building and there was even room for expansion and new facilities.

Especially for Curacao everything about the library is large and spacious. We are accustomed to many services and governments in small rooms with low ceilings, but the library is nothing like that. The huge entrance area with cafeteria-style lunch and coffee corner, the broad desk where the books are exchanged, the exhibition spaces, the reading rooms and of course all the bookshelves, everything is spacious. On the left side is a department for children and youth and the entire back is the adult department.

 

Architecture

004

The playful lines of the architecture are more visible on the inside than the outside of the building suggests. Especially the use of many windows and glass walls creates a certain whimsicality. The reflection and look through confuses your orientation. There are a lot of round shapes and wavy lines. As a result, the spaces – despite their sizes – are not angular, empty or hollow, but friendly and cozy. You feel embraced by the space.

I also think that the ‘exaggeration’ of certain details ensure the friendly atmosphere. For example, the brightly colored ceiling beams and staircase arrows in combination with the round and beehive-like windows makes the atmosphere playful. Everywhere I look, I’ll find a surprise in form or style.

 

Documentation 

005

When I go to the desk downstairs and tell that I like some more information about the library building, the lady at the desk refers to the documentationcenter. I walk upstairs through the spiral staircase and with every turn the perspective on the area changes. Along the railing I walk past various rooms. Most of the walls are completely made of glass. Through one of the rooms, you look through different rooms and again the spacious feeling overwhelms me but it doesn’t feel empty. In the hall of the documentationcenter there are models of different manors. On the left corner there is a wall with panels with information about Tula, the leader of the slave rebellion, is exhibited. Two boys are looking through some documentation in the back at a table and I tell them what I am doing, they politely let me finish but then tell me that they don’t work here. Behind some rows of cabinets full of files and folders appears a lady who could help me. Moments later I sit in one of the reading tables with a folder full of newspaper clippings – mostly copies of copies – and I try to figure out some history of the library building.

 

Acquaintance

006

Through the window, behind the boys, I look out over the Waaigat. I realize that this encounter with this particular building was certainly not disappointing and is a beautiful piece of Downtown-Curacao and my journey through Downtown-Curacao will continue and I am excited to see what more Downtown-Curacao has to offer.

 

With thanks to Manon Hoefman

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