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126 MAPUTO ARCHITECTURAL MECCA Maputo has a rich architectural heritage, still visible throughout the city, from different periods. One example is the iron house presumed to have been designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1892. Especially significant is the Art Deco-inspired architecture which flourished from the 1920s on, with some masterpieces still intact across the city. During the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s a remarkable number of modernist buildings were constructed in Lourenço Marques, as Maputo was called during the period of colonial rule. Pancho Guedes, João José Tinoco and Luis de Vasconcelos all designed many buildings that were erected quickly, changing the architectural landscape of the city. Most of these pioneers were further inspired by traditional African arts, and many buildings were decorated on either the exterior or the interior with ornaments that borrowed cultural signs and elements from the native rural hinterland. Recent years have seen a revival of the city, and construction activities are now widespread with many, new buildings going up either on vacant land or as replacements of structures in a poor state of maintenance. This process goes hand in hand with an economic boom that makes only limited allowances for the architectural heritage, and a number of valuable modernist buildings have suffered demolitions – for example, the international airport is now being replaced by a new Chinese-designed and -built airport. Most of these new buildings are put up in an ‘international style’ with limited, if any, reference to the modernism that shaped Maputo. Although an international style is dominant, local architects such as José Forjaz still contribute to the strong architectural tradition in the city. Estação do Caminho de Ferro de Maputo, 1916 Gas station, Central Maputo Pancho Guedes / Portugal: Smiling Lion House, 1958 Text by associate professor, architekt and planner JØRGEN ESKEMOSE, Head of Department of Human Settlements (DHS), Copenhagen


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