Poku Oso

Alumna Lindsey van de Wetering (Master in Architecture) graduated with Poku Oso. A sound environment in which cultural heritage, in the form of music created by humans and animals, will be exhibited.

Poku Oso is the home of the new Conservatorium van Suriname (Conservatory of Suriname) in the Cultuurtuin, a new typology of an open air school. An accessible, musical sound environment, which will provide a sense of connection, as well as spaces to learn from each other, to stimulate creativity, curiosity and movement, and to develop a stronger community. Music is a fantastic social and educational activator for everyone.

The students from the conservatory will learn about Surinamese music and culture. Dating back to the colonial era, all cultures have brought their own music with them, which now form part of Surinamese culture. To know your roots enables you to develop your full potential.

A location that is suitable for the Conservatorium Suriname, Poku Oso, is the Cultuurtuin, a spot at the heart of the society.

The Cultuurtuin, also referred to as the ‘Cul’, is currently a neglected musical landscape, in the centre of the capital Paramaribo, with many hidden treasures. This botanical and experimental garden was built in 1898 in order to experiment with native and exotic plant species, trees and cultivated crops from almost all continents. The unique trees attract special birds who provide the current music in the garden. The ‘sixi urus’ provide the dawn chorus at six o’clock sharp each morning. It is currently a neglected ‘musical landscape’ with hidden treasures: birds give concerts there every day, the rustling wind has a cooling effect in the hiking woods and the rain patters against the tree canopies from time to time.

With the addition of the Conservatorium Suriname, Poku Oso, the Cultuurtuin will become a sound environment in which the cultural heritage, in the form of music created by humans and animals, will be exhibited. The conservatory consists of an ensemble of Surinamese music buildings. All music buildings function separately from each other like instruments, such as a woodwind instrument or an apinti drum. They sound different depending on the time of day. A sound trail is created between the orchestra of buildings in a piece of tropical forest in the centre of the city.

The new buildings of the conservatory are related to the unique traditional wooden indigenous homes. All houses, large or small, belong to a family, but also demonstrate their own personality – defined by the type of music that they make. Titei Oso, the strings house, is a sound box where the strings along the walls vibrate along with the music, the rain and the wind. Winti Oso, the woodwind house, is constructed from funnel-shaped wind instrument parts that contribute to the transmission of sound into the landscape.

Through the addition of this music village, the garden will come to life, with its sounds and textures as a sort of performance art. The entire garden makes music! Each spot has its own sound. Surinamese tones dominate in this urban garden of Paramaribo.
The design is an incentive aimed at tackling the forgotten aspects of the Cultuurtuin, so that they will become completely accessible and embraced in the hearts of all Surinamese people once again.


Jan-Richard Kikkert, head of Architecture, Academy of Architecture: ‘With her graduation project, Lindsey has made a connection between various topical themes in a virtuosic manner. Inclusiveness, heritage and culture come together in this project in such a way that it could be a representation of the AHK in Paramaribo; not only programmatically, but also in an unbelievably ambitious, craftsmanlike manner.’

Frits van Dongen, Frits van Dongen Architecten en Planners: ‘Lindsey delves into all facets that affect her assignment and comes up with convincing, spatial, structural and tactile answers that far exceed the imagination. With a highly personal signature style that consistently examines and imagines all scale levels. Atmospheric drawings, scale models and collages complement each other, reinforce each other and together bear testament to an authentic design that subtly in keeping with its context. A designer like a craftswoman who allows her products to speak through their intrinsic beauty. Above all, it is a plea for a subtle treatment of history, landscape, architecture and the users of the location. A plea for an authentic signature style, for a design that speaks for itself.’

A project of: