Terminal of Benguela Railway

Terminal of Benguela Railway

Lobito [Lubito, Olupitu], Benguela, Angola

Equipment and Infrastructures

A work by Viriato Cassiano Branco (1897-1970) from 1938, it follows the model of modernist architecture which, in an early stage of the international Modern Movement, was applied in Portugal, especially between 1930s and 1940s. It can be recognized for its volumetry, consisting of pure geometric forms (prisms and cylinders), for its lack of decorative elements, for its use of reinforced concrete in flat, rendered and painted surfaces. The elongated built structure displays wide bays for access and illumination and the use of pilasters referring to the classical model. The protruding concrete peaks that surmount them introduce the innovative dimension.
The building was set in the shape of a bevelled “L” which was along the same lines of the general design by the same designer for the former Square Salazar. The original project consisted of a row of juxtaposed volumes, externally independent and of different heights: The vertical planes of the outer façades are formally united by the design of the foundation, staircases, window openings, ventilation grilles and peaks for sun shading. The main entrance and hall, included in the oblique larger volume, were also marked by the axial belfry tower whereas the entrance for the indigenous people was located on the top west of the building. From the original version of the project only the section parallel to the coastal bay road was built.

Elisiário Miranda