Dr Francisco Machado High School

Dr Francisco Machado High School

Díli, Díli, Timor

Equipment and Infrastructures

Although founded by governmental decree of 22 January 1938 and implemented in the following year by the Governor Álvaro da Fontoura (1937-1940) with the aim of providing the Timorese with a level of education that would allow them to enter the lower level of the public administration, high school education was only established in Timor in 1952 because of the upheavals caused by the Japanese invasion in the Second World War. Named after the minister for the colonies who was responsible for its foundation, the high school was installed in the former building of the Dili Municipal School, which was constructed in the first quarter of the 20th century and was one of the many buildings destroyed during the war. After being restored, it opened its doors to the first pupils at the beginning of the 1950s. As a result in the increase in the number of high school students, which mainly took place in the 1960s as a result of both the economic progress that the province enjoyed and the policy of educational improvement promoted by the Portuguese government in the overseas territories, the Dili high school, meanwhile elevated to the rank of National High School, was enlarged. The original municipal school had the classic outlines of a Goan model. It had an arcaded gallery protected by a balustrade, pillars separated by circular arches, with capitals at the base of the arch, and exterior pillars with Corinthian capitals supporting the frieze under a high entablature. There was a wide, pyramidal- shaped staircase leading up to the main entrance, which was surmounted by a flamboyant pediment of oriental taste. The walls were whitewashed and the doors and windows were not framed, except in the facing in the interior gallery, in which the frames and decoration of the windows presented a chromatic unity, with the frames in tones of dark wood and the decoration imitating reddish-brown stone. The building retained its architectonic structure in the first phase of the work, of which only photographs remain, but it lost its whitewash and the purity of its decoration. All this was replaced with chromatic socles, capitals, decoration of door and window frames, entablature and pillars, resulting in a work that is more conventional and which conforms to the compositional rules coming from Portugal. The rigorously geometric pediment did away with its Goan air and left it with Portuguese characteristics and the chromatic influence of Macau. Following the Indonesian invasion of 1975 the high school ceased to be used as a teaching establishment. Destroyed by the integrationist militias in 1999, the Dr Francisco Machado High School was rebuilt in 2001 by the Lisbon City Council. The façade maintained its architectonic features, but the interior underwent profound changes so that it could house the East Timor Faculty of Educational Sciences, thus restoring its function as a space for teaching and knowledge. In the second phase of the work, the entablature was replaced by Portuguese style eaves, the balustrade by a dark base with inset pillars and the capitals at the base of the arches disappeared, replaced with parallelepiped capitals supporting the frieze, which lost its unity with the entablature and became a decoration under the eaves.

Edmundo Alves

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