The Home of Happy Orphanhood
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Photo by Nationaal Archief/Collectie Spaarnestad/Louis van Paridon
Art

The Home of Happy Orphanhood

An Orphanage in Amsterdam
Zygmunt Borawski
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time 8 minutes

“What I expect of you, sir? Perhaps I should rather tell you what I don’t,” said the headmaster to the architect. “I do not want a large, oppressive building, whose size and form would make children feel locked up and separated from the world. I wish for the exact opposite!”

The word ‘orphan’ evokes sympathy. ‘Orphanage’ and ‘group home’ ring even sadder in our ears, as our imagination conjures visions of a big gloomy house with long, dark corridors and dull, institutionalized discipline. However, there are some exceptions. In mid-20th century Amsterdam, two visionaries – progressive educational psychologist Frans van Meurs and unconventional architect Aldo van Eyck – created a home for children that was revolutionary in its difference from the orphanages that came before it. Both gentlemen believed that nobody deserved a careless and happy life as much as children did, and they decided it was necessary to do everything in their might to create such an environment for the young ones.

The wisdom and principles embedded in the building’s structure forever secured its place in the chronicles of world architecture, but also made it clear that design for

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A celebrity singer and a future celebrity architect together created an unusual hotel in the mountains. They named it for the glory of the homeland.

Krynica-Hawana bus stop. The beginning of autumn; the end of a long journey. A cold Sub-Carpathian night descends, but the fire burns on the exotic islands of dance halls: summer hits from the last 40 years are being blasted, dancing couples forget about their age. In sanatorium spa resorts, time gets curved in a weird way. It is ruled by a daily rhythm of meals, walks, treatments and dance parties. What day of the week, what year is it? Does it even matter?

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