Beira, Sofala, Mozambique
Equipment and Infrastructures
The Grande Hotel was designed in 1946 by architect José Luís Porto (1883-1965). The works were supervised by engineer Ribeiro Alegre (replaced by engineer Joaquim Vaz in 1953). Francisco de Castro (b. 1923) was responsible for monitoring the construction as well as the details in the interiors and the finishes executed from 1953 onwards (when the collaboration between Alegre and Porto must have ended). The electrical project was designed by engineer Eugénio Rodrigues Sopa. The work started in August 1949 and was inaugurated on the 16th July 1955 (the pool and nightclub were inaugurated on the 23rd July) with an area of 21,000 square metres and 131 rooms. The building was leased to the Sociedade de Turismo de Moçambique (Tourism Society of Mozambique).
A luxurious tourist undertaking of the Company of Mozambique, the hotel functioned for eight years. Its architectural language and reinforced concrete characteristic of the first stage of modern architecture in Portugal in the interwar period (Modernism). It consists of four bodies connected by glazed corridors, the main one with a concave shape that formally solves the angle of the block. Its exterior appearance is marked by the deep horizontality and a dynamism conveyed by the verandas, windows and sun canopies. Following its closure on the 28th February 1963 there was the idea of reopening it, in the early 1970s, as a hotel and casino. Only the pool would reopen, on November 1970, under the aegis of the Comissão Técnica de Natação da Associação dos Desportos (Sports Association’s Technical Swimming Commission) on the condition, imposed by the City Council that it should be for public. Although in ruins, it is used as the residence for around 2,000 people.