“I claim for architects the rights and liberties that painters and poets have held for so long.” – Pancho Guedes

Amancio Guedes was born in Lisbon Portugal and was only seven years old when his family relocated to Mozambique. He was educated in Lorenço Marques (now Maputo) and later graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1950. He quickly established a practice and worked with a tireless enthusiasm for the next twenty five years, changing the architectural landscape of Mozambique. His work was a sudden shift in the Modern and Late-Modern tradition that many professionals had become comfortable with. He challenged the status quo not only in the sense of an architect as independent artist, but also in the sense that his work did not fit the rationalist functionalist bill. Forced to depart Mozambique in 1974 due to the political turmoil, he was cast adrift, but his legendary reputation earned him an invitation for the vacant Chair of Architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Working at a university gave him numerous opportunities to travel, lecture and exhibit his work. He toured widely, all the while accumulating a vast array of artistic and architectural inspiration. He was a visiting professor at the University of California in Los Angeles in 1981, served on several AA (London) juries and attended the first Team 10 meeting.

His success as an architect is clear when his ability to solve functional puzzles and integrate beautifully imagined spaces is examined. His work is personal, sculptural and exuberant. It draws from a broad eclectic vocabulary, from the South American flair introduced to Modernism by Oscar Niemeyer to the vernacular and the historic influence of Portugal, so similar to Gaudi but more true, and raw. (Cook 2012:online) He uses the expressive tones of earlier movements and the African Art of the context to create completely new forms and architectural idioms. He now resides in Portugal. In 2010 a retrospective of his body of work was held at the Museu Coleccau Berardo in Lisbon, Portugal was opened by Sir Peter Cook and attracted over 48 000 visitors.

A prolific artist, architect and educator Pancho Guedes continues to inspire generations of architects who strive to make their own unique mark. “Pancho was difficult, absolutely brilliant, totally committed to his art, infuriatingly partisan yet also generous, spellbindingly erudite and supremely talented, a truly great architect capable of turning his hand to almost any architectural problem and issue with an almost contemptuous ease.” – Jo Noero (In Viva Pancho 2003:22)

Born 13 May 1952
Education 1953: Escola Superior de Belas Artes, Porto, Portugal; 1950: Bachelor of Architecture, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng
Projects featured Saipal Bakery, Maputo, Mocambique (1952); Smiling Lion Apartments -O Leão que Ri – Maputo Mozambique (1958)

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Maputo, Mocambique | 1952


Maputo, Mozambique | 1958