Bull's Eye

We've been trying to get hold of someone who could get us into the Praca de Touros for about a week without any luck. So we decided on just going there and look for a person with the right key. We met Ernesto who's working at one of the car mechanic shops and he showed us around.

Not surprisingly, the arena is quite impressive. The ground floor is divided between a handful of mechanical workshops, except for the entrance area who used to be some kind of shop or restaurant and one part in the back, who has been used by a church.

A a section of the ground floor, used by a church after the bull fighting closed down

When the bull fighting went on, most of the areas in the first floor was in use as a market place.

market place areas on the first floor

view from the first floor

The seating area is also all in concrete with supporting beams underneath. The angle of the seating is quite steep and creates a very defined and closed space inside the arena.

People we met in and around the Praca de Touros told us that the arena had been used some times after the bull fighting era, for boxing matches and concerts, but these days it is mostly left unused. Nevertheless, we ran into a small choir who used the place for rehearsals and they granted us a small performance.

More about Maputo

This week end we were so lucky as to get a guided tour of Maputo by architect Pedro Madureira Louro. We spent six hours strolling around in the city passing by some of the architectural highlights.

the train station, figuring as a hotel in the blockbuster movie "Blood Diamond"

the Municipality, flanked by an office building who's been left in this condition since 1975

In the city center, the remnants of the portugese colonist era is still very present. Many of the existing buildings were built in the time before the Independence in 1975, and the more recent ones are strongly influenced by their predecessors.

Stil, Maputo is a mixed bag of everything. A number of art deco style buildings mix with wide eaved villas, neo classic government buildings and high rise appartment blocks looking like Le Corbusiers Unité d'habitation. In some cases it seems a bit too obvious that this has been a playground for european architects, resulting in some more or less fortunate modernist experiments. Some steel and glass shopping centers are also to be found, but luckily, they are still very few.

one of portugese architect Pancho Guedes' many buildings in Maputo

one of the largest high schools in the city

supposedly, one of Gustave Eiffel's associates designed this iron house...
a good idea in sub saharan africa?

Brick and concrete are the main building materials, both used in a very different way than home in the northern Europe. Most houses are still without airconditionning, and the hundreds of different ways of sun shading is very characteristic, at least seen through the eyes of a norwegian architect student.

Before the portugese left, they controlled the city center and the infrastructure. As the decolonization was a rapid process in Mozambique there was suddenly a gap between the built structure and the know how of how to maintain it. Due to lack of maintenance, many buildings in the city center are deteriorating, turning into ruins.

All in all, I guess it is safe to say that Maputo is a very diverse city, in all senses, and it should, of course, be experienced. And if you're coming, you should look up Pedro. If not, I hope this gives an idea of what's there.

Consultant teachers

Last week we met with teachers from the three existing schools, to find out some more about the way they work and how they could be working together. Kristine, Soley and Tadzo are all part of a Peace Corps program in Mozambique and have been working here for a year. We wanted to talk with them because they have a fresh view of how the schools are working.

Kristine, Soley and Magnus at Soley's balcony

It seemed to be an agreement that the potential benefit of having a school for both dance, music and visual arts is great. A school this big will certainly demand more of the administrating section, but an adapted building layout and coordinated time schedules would promote collaboration between the three schools in a completely new way.

One obvious challenge is that the three existing schools are quite different in terms of grades. While the END and the ENM are both teaching part time students from 4-5 to 16 years old, ENAV is a full time high school of three years, also teaching general subjects, for students from 16 years old and up. The school proposed in the report is a school more similar to ENAV than the two others. This should rather be an addition to the existing schools for younger kids, than a substitution.

Economy is also an issue, both for the school administration and for the students. What good is a canteen if the students can not afford to by anything there?

Tandzo and Ingrid in the shaded back yard of the music school

Music, dance and visual arts are all arts and they need the same basis of theory and practice to perform. By bringing them together as three faculties under one roof, they could learn this basis together. Also by performing for each other and reacting on each others performances they can learn more about their own art form as well as the others'. This would make the students more complete as artists. Being different but appreciating each other.



Despite our busy schedule and tight budget, this week we allowed ourselves a two days on safari trip in South Africa. We set off together with Kim and Ina, the father and sister of a friend of Mona. Krüger National park, the safari Mecca of South Africa, is only a two hours drive from Maputo. On Tuesday we left Maputo three hours after schedule, and arrived at our luxury lodge in the afternoon. With chocolates on the pillow, freezing air-conditioned room, a tiny pool and a balcony with a sign saying: "Watch out for wild animals". After one hour intensive relaxing, we went out to hunt…

On the night safari we went before sundown, and drove around for three hours, through the sunset until we were spotting animals by using flashlights. We saw zebras, giraffes, spotted hyenas, secretary bird (with very long legs), hippos, rhinoceroses and a horde of buffaloes. The next morning we set off at 04.15, after four hours of sleep. But it was worth it. Before breakfast we had seen almost everything there is to see in the park, including three male lions close up and a leopard far, far away.

Ingrid flirting with the elephants

zebra crossing

hippo posing to the camera, buffaloes acting as extras in the background

savanna view

our friend from Portveien 2


spot the leopard

Inspired by Monas photos, we initiated a competition: "The best tree photo". We quickly realized that it was much easier to get good photos of trees than of the animals. So here is a small selection. Now it is up to you to name the winner…

contestant number 1

contestant number2

contestant number 3

contestant number 4

contestant number 5

contestant number 6

Reporting from the wilderness – Magnus and Ingrid



For a couple of days we have been working with scenarios at the two different sites, the Rua de Bagamoyo and the Praca de Touros. We have been working by sketching, trying to fit the program in the available areas, and trying to find possible conceptual solutions to fit the two sites.

_Rua de Bagamoyo

At the Rua de Bagamoyo we found out that the best solution would be to use the existing ENAV, ARPAC and END buildings and supply with new structures on the two available plots. The main difficulties are to find a place for the big concert hall, and to make the school work as one unit without separating the three faculties (dance, music and visual arts) in different buildings/areas.

a new building with concert hall and common areas combining the existing buildings

the entire school with a common outdoor area

an open, central space for concerts and outdoor exhibitions

_Praca de Touros

The Praca de Touros is much bigger and the program can easily be fitted without occupying the central arena. The main challenges at this site seems to be the interaction between the central arena and the areas inside the "ring", and getting daylight into the inner part of the structure without gaining excessive heat form the sun.

trying to open up the central arena

experimenting with daylight

view of the whole complex with outdoor concert

After having worked with the two sites and different scenarios for a while they both seem to be possible and suitable for the project. However, the Praca de Touros seems like the better choice, and also more interesting and appealing as an educational case. So that's where we'll continue working from now on.