Filming the documentary: Sint Maarten

We captured the last island for our documentary ‘In search of contemporary Caribbean architecture’. Sint Maarten is a special island, where we filmed a number of projects in the Dutch part.

A couple highlights from our visit

Beautiful recordings were made in Philipsburg, where we tried to capture some of the local culture. There we walked past the Marketplace, one of Lyongo’s demolished projects.

We also visited the Dental Clinic Halley, which was one of Lyongo’s first projects here. He spoke with his former client Marlon Halley. They looked back on the special collaboration. “Lyongo asked me to write a list of things that I liked of my old office and what I didn’t like. And from just those two lists he made the design for the building, I was and still am really impressed with that. We started as a working relationship, but after all these years it feels like family.”

This clinic has weathered several hurricanes. Many conversations we had here, and on Saba, were about hurricane-resistant buildings. There is a lot of demand for this now that the number of hurricanes will possibly increase. The buildings that Lyongo has designed on Sint Maarten and Saba, over the last 25 years, have remained almost undamaged so far.

One conversation about the impact of hurricanes was our scene at the Sister Marie Laurent School. Here we started talking to some of the pupils. They are temporarily staying at another elementary school after their school was destroyed in hurricane Irma (2017). In the conversation with Lyongo, children indicated that they would love to have their own school, they no longer want to be guests at this other school. A conversation with one of the teachers showed that many children did have a hard time in terms of mental condition after the hurricane. That required a lot from the teachers to provide that needed mental support. The children were also allowed to respond to the design for the new school. They were happy with that. “It doesn’t look like a school, it looks so fancy” was their response. They indicated that health is an important theme for them in the new building.

Together with school director Lilia Aventurin-Hodge and project manager Tanja Frederiks, we drove to the location where the new sports field and playing ground are already built. These are also open to the neighborhood every day and evening. It is the first of its kind on the island and gave a huge boost to the local community. “After the hurricane, the school was being looted. This made us realize that a school should also bring a change in this neighborhood. We want to be a school with a loving community around it. So we started with a playing ground and a sports field – that can be used by the neighborhood. Next to the fields is the old school, this building will be demolished and we will built the new one here. We hope the construction of the school will start soon, because we have been waiting for the new building for almost 7 years now…”

A special moment during our visit was visiting Lyongo’s mother, who has lived for many years on the island. We visited her house and shot a scene about Lyongo’s childhood. Lyongo started his career on Sint Maarten, his company was officially founded here 25 years ago. A year later, his mother moved here in a home that they picked out together. This conversation gave a nice insight into what it is like to grow up in the Caribbean and especially with a parent from Dutch descent.

What’s next?

We end our trip on Curacao, where we shoot the last scenes at the Mangrove City Park in Willemstad and a villa in Emmastad. Then we start editing the film. The plan is to publish the film in the fall of 2024.

This documentary is made in collaboration with filmmaker Pim Gelevert and is made possible by two generous clients and the PBCCG. For which we are very grateful.

Door |2024-05-30T15:11:26+00:0029 mei 2024|News|0 Reacties
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