Following the destruction of his Pietermaai residence by the 1877 Great Hurricane, Dr. David Ricardo was determined to erect a resilient house in a safer location in the Scharloo district. The sea would not reach this mansion – ‘Villa Maria’ –, which he presumably named after his wife Miriam. ‘Villa Maria’, completed in 1885, boasts a fortress-like grand marble staircase and a Greek Revival portico with four imposing columns supporting a pediment. The grand mansion hosted notable occupants, including Ulisses Heureux, the president of the Dominican Republic, and for quite some time, Hotel Caracas was established in the building.
In 1999, the Curaçao Monuments Foundation took charge of the property, concluding its renovation in 2000. The building has been a meeting and exhibition space for over a decade.
Name of property:
Detached block-shaped structure laid out on an elevated platform. Main section with portico and rear section with side wings enclosing a patio. Cistern under rear section. Two parallel hipped roofs over main section, transverse hipped roofs over side wings. Patio exit with U-shaped staircase to backyard. Side facades: eight shutter windows with triangular fronton and pilasters with block pattern on main floor and six doors to former servants’ quarters in substructure. Front façade: portico with triangular fronton on Doric frieze with triglyphs, supported by fluted Doric columns. Quoins with block pattern on corners. Steep fan-shaped staircase to front yard.
Architectural historical value as a monumental example of a Neo-Greek mansion following American counterparts. Specific value as part of a protected monumental townscape.