Weblog Marjon en Paul
Marjon Bosman and Paul Verbruggen are in Suriname to assist in the restoration of Fort New Amsterdam at the confluence of the Suriname and Commewijne rivers. During the three months that they will be working there they will keep a log for City of Paramaribo.
Please let us introduce ourselves. We (Paul and Marjon) have left the Netherlands for Suriname to help with the renovation of the Open air museum Fort New Amsterdam. We work in the Netherlands as architects. Paul has his own office (architects and building consultancy PWK) in Delft and I (Marjon) work with KOW architects in The Hague. For some time we have been thinking of living and working abroad for a while and as a result of a TV program by RTL4 about the open air museum we decided to offer them our services for a couple of months. There was quite enough to do and we were welcomed with open arms by Evert Middelbeek (director), his wife Carla and the rest of the crew.
November 8, 2008
Hello you all,
For four weeks we have already been working on the plantation mansion which will have to serve as a conference space.
We were hardly two weeks at work when the museum was visited by the Dutch state secretary Timmermans of European Affairs and the Surinamese minister Wolf of Culture and Education. As things go here, they did not come alone. A full convoy of press, spokesmen, ambassadors and so on came along. Actually, great for the PR….
The state secretary brought along a cheque of a hundred thousand euros (!) for the renovation of the plantation mansion, which means we can really make something great out of it.
Every day we depart with the school boat from Leonsberg to the fort in the morning and take a ride back with the SAO bus in the afternoon. Youngsters from the Foundation for work mobility and development (SAO) also work on the fort. These are underprivileged kids who are taught a craft to help them integrate into society. One of the things they did was building the bridge across the ditch to “our” plantation mansion where we now keep office.
We are making good progress with our work. We have determined the dimensions and made a drawing of the whole building, made a new design and are now busy making the budget for the renovation and the new buildings. We had talks with contractors, a design engineer and an office that organizes congresses. The result can be a really wonderful, exclusive congress building, which is very much in demand here in Suriname, but the costs must be limited to a hundred thousand euro’s!!! November 21 we will present the plans to the board of the museum.
We will keep you informed!
Paul en Marjon
December 17, 2008
Time flies! We have hardly started and we already realize that within two weeks we will fly back home! That’s a pity, but fortunately we have been able to do, see and enjoy a lot of things. The project, the plantation mansion, or largest project, went very well. Against all expectations, we must admit. Many people prepared us for the worst: people would not keep their appointments, there would be many delays, scratching people’s back would be the only way to accomplish something (and who did we actually know to work on). But none of that (or maybe: just a little).
We have started by determining the dimensions of the plantation mansion. It has to become a conference space where congresses can be held, as well as receptions, training sessions, wedding parties, exhibitions and the likes. It means that the building should be upgraded to meet modern standards like air-conditioning, good sanitary equipment, a good kitchen, good illumination, etc. We made a plan to tear down the ground floor except for the pillars and to renovate the rest of the building. On ground floor level we have planned a lobby in the style of a plantation mansion, a large kitchen, toilets, showers, and a beautiful open terrace. On the first floor we projected the hall with a bar and in the attic there is room for an extra meeting room, a dressing room and a storeroom.
Within two weeks we had made the drawings of these plans, a detailed 3D model and a construction budget. On six A0 panels we presented these plans to the board of the foundation that runs the museum (part Surinamese, part Dutch). The budget of the plans exceeded the one hundred thousand euro’s we had received from the Foreign Department, but since it also covered the inventory, we nevertheless got the mandate to continue.
A local design engineer did a soil-drilling test together with the university and calculated the bearing capacity of the base and the pillars. Next we wrote the building specifications, made a list of material colours and drew the details, We presented all this once more to the Embassy and the Foreign Office, who were very pleased with our work.
We have invited four contractors for instructions on the work which we will give at a meeting tomorrow and then we will have to wait for their financial proposals. By that time we will be back in the Netherlands from where we can only check on their calculations, but then our work will be over. That is how fast things can go! But we did not have to take care of telephone calls and mails and socialize with dear, but diverting colleagues and that makes a difference. And we prove to be a good team. Paul does the drawing and I do the fixing and calculations. And that worked out pretty well.
We think the activities will take from six months up to a year. Everything depends on the contractor who gets the job and the number of subcontractors. But that it will be built is pretty sure!
The other plans for the open air museum are passing off quite propitiously because of the inspiring supervision of Evert and Clara Middelbeek, the director and his wife. The renovation of the white powder magazine is almost finished and before long the construction of a tinsmith's workshop will start. We will also make a drawing for the construction of a classroom behind the prison building and a design for a watch-tower. We will make different proposals and Evert and Clara may decide which one will be built; exciting it is! Thanks to them we had a marvellous time here and we are confident that the museum will be in good hands for the next two years.
So to everyone reading this: do quickly come (back) here to see and enjoy the open air museum Fort New Amsterdam.
Marjon Bosman en Paul Verbruggen