Bank Nacional Ultramarino (present day Bank of Mozambique)

Bank Nacional Ultramarino (present day Bank of Mozambique)

Maputo [Lourenço Marques], Maputo, Mozambique

Equipment and Infrastructures

The office buildings in Mozambique are prestigious structures and symbols of the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the former city called Lourenço Marques. The Mozambique Bank, which succeeded the BNU Overseas National Bank in Maputo, designed by José Gomes Bastos (1914-1991) and Marcos Miranda Guedes (1924-2001), stands out in the downtown area for its scale and accurate design.

Located in Maputo city center, next to the 25 de Junho Square between the Consiglieri Pedroso Street and 25 de Setembro Avenue, it was built in 1964, designed in 1954 by José Gomes Bastos invited by the Bank Administration, and occupies part of a block in the transition between the original structure of Lourenço Marques, and the Araújo Plan (1887-1892).

The set of volumes that constitutes the Bank building define a rectangular ring with three urban fronts and a gable. These volumes are formally unified by concrete flaps, by the design of vertical windows, and also through the repetition of the modules of the openings which together with the vertical elements confer a specific rhythm on the facades. The center of the ring is a lighting and ventilation void that works for all the floors except for the entrance one, where is drawn a cylindrical volume containing the staircase, bounded by the curved surface of the domed roof.  

The constructed building corresponds to a multifunctional complex that includes, in addition to bank area and customer service (basement, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 8th floors) a leisure and a health centers (5th floor), an social assistance area (6th floor), and housing area (6th and 7th floor). It constitutes a great programmatic diversity that was possible since each floor, though limited by the outer volumes, is sized and composed through a structural grid which allows a flexible plan, divisible according to the different functional organization needs. This structural grid can be seen in the exterior façades.

The access to public service area is defined on facades on the main arteries. The service entrance and access to the apartments, located on the upper floors, is done by the side lane.

The Bank of Mozambique is by the hand of José Gomes Bastos, an example of integration of works of art, namely: the polychrome ceramic panel, placed outside the main entrance, designed by Querubim Lapa; three bronze sculptures suspended in the wall of the main lobby background by Manuela Madureira; the design of Murano mosaic glass coating on the walls of the helical staircase by Estrela de Faria prepared in Italian by Ugo Vetreria & Figlio firm and applied on site by mosaicists from the Italian factory Zavagno E. and A. Chivilò; the engraved marble wall with 80cm extension in the northeast side of the room of the public ground floor by Francisco Relógio or José Freire, authorship still to confirm; the oil painting of the southeast wall of the public lobby of the 3rd floor by Rolando Sá Nogueira; the southeast wall panel of the hall's board by Garizo Jorge do Carmo; and the painting in the employee parties room by Malangatana Ngwega Valente. At the social center were placed Bertina Lopes and Malangatana panels.

"An example of the application of the Modern Movement architectural models and the architectural principles of the postwar era, recognizable in the building formal language, as in the brise-soleil of main façade, as well as in the synthetic integration of various arts (gesamtkunstwerk) in architectural design”.


Original by Elisiário Miranda.

(FCT: PTDC/AUR-AQI/103229/2008)

Adaptation by Ana Tostões and Daniela Arnaut