Complete Primary School of Manga (former School for Manga)

Complete Primary School of Manga (former School for Manga)

Beira, Sofala, Mozambique

Equipment and Infrastructures

While, during the 50s, school buildings projects, for secondary school and vocational education, in Mozambique continued to arrive from Portugal through the Office of Overseas Urbanization (GUU) (1951-1957), primary education projects began to be designed directly in Mozambican territory in the Public Works Technical Services.

Far from the direct influence of the central government, the results could not be more diverse, and this is reflected in João Aires project for the Primary School of Manga (1952), in which the monumentality and the metropolitan traditionalism reproduction are replaced by the modern architecture expression, meaningful of the epoch, place and program. This epoch expression can be seen in the use of modern materials and methods expressed in the language and spatiality, the sense of place in the direct response to climatic conditions, and the program directly reproduced into the building scale proportional to its users eliminating monumentality completely.

Set in a block of square shape and flat topography, the Complete Primary School of Manga is composed by two parallel volumes of similar widths and different lengths, joined by a covered circulation gallery on pilotis, articulating the volumes perpendicularly.

The longest volume, with two floors, houses on the upper floor four classrooms and downstairs the administrative offices and a refectory. On the ground floor are located other functions between the school entrance and the circulation gallery near which a covered outdoor space acts as reception and leisure lobby. The smaller volume of one floor, consists of two classrooms, with the possibility of being extended with two more.

Under a 3m modeling space metric, applied both in plan and section, a constant rhythm of structural elements, visibly assumed and leaned relatively to the North facades, contributes to efficient sun protection, through a plastic expression together with the asymmetrically pitched roofs. The vertical access between the two floors is assumed volumetric and plastically, differing by its flat roof and the stone coating, combined with perforated ceramic panels. Structure, architecture and response to climate function as an integrated whole, contributing to the balance of space: the salient pillars form brise soleil South facades; the covered circulation gallery on pilotis is not only a shaded pathway, but also a playground and outdoor gym; the perforated panels animate the facades, favoring the presence of light while protecting the solar radiation; the inside path of children in space: start to feel the first steps in the full exploitation of modern ideas in Mozambican school buildings.

Zara Ferreira

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