House of Bicos

House of Bicos

Beira, Sofala, Mozambique

Equipment and Infrastructures

During the second half of 1964 the idea of constructing the “Pavilion for Permanent Exhibitions of Economic Activities”, on the initiative of the Junta de Comércio Externo (External Commerce Office) was widespread. The building would be constructed in the area of the Civic and Commercial centre and would be part of a surrounding landscape with a large artificial lake in the background. It is established in an area with 3,250 square metres and the façade is 125 metres long. There were plans to enlarge its useable area, with the future construction of another module. Ten blades of reinforced concrete in the shape of hyperbolic paraboloids form the roof of the structure. Each paraboloid, supported by four consoles, leans on two pillars set 25 metres apart. The free areas to the left and right of the entrance were used for the establishment of the department of information and propaganda, including a sound booth and the light control unit. Identical areas in the central zone of the large nave would be used for the placement of support material. There was a plan to establish, above the large exhibition hall, the secretarial and archive departments, a meeting room, and a pantry/scullery connected directly to the tea room. For the same floor it was intended to build a balcony from where the whole park could be observed through wide windows. The lighting by day and the ventilation of the building are provided by eight large windows with movable shutters. Architect João Afonso Garizo do Carmo (1917-1974) is the author of the initial project. Nevertheless, the building – a structure of an unusual modern sense, with a dynamic volumetry through the use of curved surfaces in reinforced concrete – had, right from the start, serious problems which affected its structure as a result of alterations made to the initial plan. Besides the External Commerce Office , it was the headquarters of the Information and Tourism Department and some departments of Economic Services.

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