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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the site. Looks like a great project. I'd love to get Pedro's email or phone if you have it. I will be shooting a short documentary in Maputo from 20-27th of March, and it would be great to go on an Architecture tour as well. I work for the UN in Tanzania, and originally from California. Jason (jasongbyrne@yahoo.com)