Pancho Guedes building Maputo

Pancho Guedes

Legendary architect Pancho Guedes died on November 7 at his home in South Africa. His buildings helped define Maputo, and his sculpture and paintings captured the soul of Mozambique.

This short film was made four years ago, following a student who travelled to Maputo to study Guedes’s work. It’s the best display of his architecture that I’ve found so far:

Amancio d’Alpoim Miranda Guedes was born May 13, 1925 in Portugal. He came to Mozambique at a young age and went on to train at the University of the Witswatersrand. He became one of the leading architects in the continent.

His work can be found all over Mozambique. His paintings tell a lot about a country that fought colonization until it gained independence only for it to fall into one of the deadliest civil war in Africa.  He left Mozambique after independence under the 24/20 declaration, during which Portuguese descendants living in the country were thrown out giving them only 24 hours to leave and allowing them to take only 20 kilograms of belongings with them.

He then moved to apartheid South Africa and he was appointed head of architecture at Wits in Johannesburg. He later moved to Portugal in the late 90’s where he continued to work from his home near Sintra. His works can be found in Mozambique, South Africa, Portugal and in Angola. His work is regularly displayed in arts centres across Mozambique, and in Maputo guided tours take tourists to view his buildings (Jane Flood‘s tours, in English, are superb).

Guedes worked with a lot of people and many viewed him as a teacher because of his creative skills. Most of his work reflects his knowledge of Africa.

Mila Goudet has a nice collection of his work on Pinterest

and here’s a more formal tribute to his work.