Architecture is always top of mind when planning our travels. We will often make detours to out of the way locations if we find out a building or monument of particular interest is located there (looking at you, Pleven, Bulgaria). For die hard modernism and brutalism fans, planning an itinerary based on hopping from modernist relic to relic is easy in places like the Balkans, Baltics, or Central Asia. When venturing off the beaten path in the Americas, to places like Guyana and Suriname, for instance, the game becomes a little more difficult.
David and I hadn’t done any pre-planning in terms of architecture tourism for our recent trip to Guyana and Suriname – in that way, it resembled our trip to Southeast Asia last year, where we happened upon beauties of the New Khmer style designed by Vann Molyvann. But Guyana and Suriname lacked the direct colonial influence of the French that allowed for an easier transfer of modernist styles and forms from Le Corbusier to architects in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Suriname and Guyana, on the other hand, are better known for wooden colonial architecture from the British and the Dutch – the likes of which in Paramaribo are listed under UNESCO World Heritage. That said, while walking among British and Dutch colonial structures in various states of (dis)repair crowding the streets in Georgetown and Paramaribo, we found a great number of modernist examples worth going out of the way for (if you happen to be a concrete fetishist, that is).