Weddings Palace (former Automobile Touring Club of Mozambique (ATCM))

Weddings Palace (former Automobile Touring Club of Mozambique (ATCM))

Beira, Sofala, Mozambique

Equipment and Infrastructures

Clubs have a qualified and cosmopolitan expression especially in Beira, where a sophisticated colonial society gave life to buildings as the Automoile Touring of Mozambique, currently the Weddings Palace (1957-1958), designed by Paulo de Melo Sampaio (1926-1968).

Located on the edge of Ponta Gea in Beira, near theBeira Grande Hotel designed by the architect José Luís Porto (1883-1965) in 1946, the building is erected next to the sea on Artur Brandão Square, integrated in a landscaped area, and valued by a Shikhani mural.

It’s characterized as a markedly horizontal curved volume of 2 floors, intersected by a vertical volume containing the vertical access. This vertical volume is placed asymmetrically in the main facade, and is defined by a concrete wall coated by glazed ceramic tiles with geometrical designs.

The ground floor is a retreated volume limited to the South, where the administrative and service areas are located, releasing a generous covered terrace to the North overlooking the interior garden and the sea. Upstairs are located the social areas such as the library, game room, the restaurant and a lounge area articulated to the vertical access through an exterior covered space. Conceived as circulation gallery and leisure area, this area defines the main facade East oriented and opened on Artur Brandão Square, through a horizontal opening along the entire length of the facade, and almost along the entire height. The western facade is also characterized by a set of horizontal openings between pillars, but with a much reduced height and located on the facade near the roof.

In this work of Paulo Melo Sampaio are evident not only references to Le Corbusier but also the Brazilian plasticity revealed in the elegant modulation of the suspended volume floating on the pillars of the 1st floor.

The building is in reasonable conservation state. Some volumes have been added in the back facade, and part of the empty area on the ground floor has been closed.

Ana Tostões, Daniela Arnaut

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