Lyongo architecture celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! We highlight this by, among other things, sharing some of our projects from the last 25 years every month. This is Hotel ‘t Klooster, it was our first major project on Curacao.

A short history

In 1886 the congregation of the “Fraters van Zwijssen” came to Curacao to set up primary education. They build the Klooster St. Albertus. After they left the island, in 1987, the building was no longer a monastery. But it served many purposes before it became a hotel. It became a printing company and a book store, for example. In 2007 Lyongo Juliana was asked to develop a plan for the restoration and the transition from monastery to modern hotel.

Preserving the monument

This colorful building was a challenging restoration project because we wanted to preserve its monumental qualities. While retaining these qualities, we also made additions to make the hotel part of the contemporary and modern Caribbean architecture. However, this was always in the shadow of the monument. For example: while defining the new floor plans for the hotel rooms, the existing window and door openings were leading. In this way, we did not reverse the entire structure and the monument remained recognizable.

Bringing daylight back into the building was also an important starting point. Bringing daylight back into the building was a real necessity. Over time, the building had become a dark ‘dungeon’. To solve this, we installed a deep ‘cavity wall’ on the south and east sides to serve as a buffer between the school and the rooms. This cavity wall is multi-functional. In addition to providing daylight to the building, this cavity wall also houses the bathrooms of the small rooms.

Turning point

Designing Hotel ’t Klooster was an important turning point for our firm. From this moment on, Lyongo could fully focus on creating contemporary Caribbean architecture. Over the past years, our firm has been committed to assignments ranging from private housing to public buildings, from hotels to urban planning.

Historic image from Photography: Berber van Beek © Studiorootz. The additional picture of the chapel is from our own archives.