Municipal Market of Kinaxixe/Kinaxixi (Quinaxixe)

Municipal Market of Kinaxixe/Kinaxixi (Quinaxixe)

Luanda [São Paulo de Luanda], Luanda, Angola

Equipment and Infrastructures

The Kinaxixe Market (1950-1958), demolished in 2008, was one of the modern movement references in Luanda corresponding to the first work designed by Vasco Vieira da Costa (1911- 1982) after the internship in Paris with Le Corbusier. The project was commissioned by the General Governor of Angola, Captain José Agapito da Silva Carvalho, and was developed between 1950 and 1952 by Vasco Vieira da Costa, as part of his duties as municipal architect. The Kinaxixe Market was located in the upper part of the city, next to the National Museum of Natural History of Angola (1956), Cinema Miramar (1964), and the "Cuca building" built in the early 50s, (demolished in 2011), by the architect Luis Taquelim da Silva.

It is also in the 50s that Vasco Vieira da Costa designs the Plan for Luanda Bay by drawing a line of buildings that limit the city's growth and simultaneously opens to the bay creating an extensive gallery at the ground floor level as transition space and a comfortable ride. The Kinaxixe Market is one of the buildings designed in the 50's which will transform the city of Luanda organizing the surrounding space with its simple geometry and reinventing the surrounding urban area. 

Positioned at Kinaxixe Square, city expansion area, the market acted as a structuring tool of urban expansion area of Luanda to the North. Located in a crossroad of significant urban arteries, such as the Commander Valódia Avenue and Gamal Abdel Nasser, the market set them, and limits the facade off the Kinaxixe Square defining it as a public meeting place.

The Kinaxixe Market was stated as a parallelepiped monumental building lifted from the ground, whose continuity with the city was assured through the ground floor adjustment to the topography: double high ceiling at East and an intermediate floor at West. Indented on three sides, the ground floor is designed with a portico structure of double high-ceiling occupied by a commercial area in direct relationship with the city and protected from the sun. In the northern facade, the ground floor goes foward to the facade limit and an access ramp to the intermediate floor is designed.

The rectangular plan with 100 meters long by 60 meters wide contains two inner courtyards, in different level heights due to the slope, around which the Vieira Vasco da Costa organizes the entire program. On the ground floor are designed the commercial areas facing the city and the stores and services facing the inner courtyards, and on the first floor, of 6.5 meters height galleries, fixed countertops were designed for products selling.

Between the two inner courtyards, in the center of the composition, were located the market entrances, and the vertical circulations composed by stairs and elevators linking the basement to the roof terrace, marked by modern sculptural elements, overlooking the city.

The continuous outer skin composed by vertical concrete brise-soleil elements ensured ventilation and shading of the entire commercial area on the 1st floor, whose continuity was broken by the introduction diagonal lines, horizontal openings, sculptural volumes or concrete boxes coated with ceramic tiles with large chromatic diversity.

This work confirms Vasco Vieira da Costa research that proceeds in architecture able to answer effectively to climate conditions looking for a permanent ventilation combined with shading areas significantly enhancing modern formal solutions. According to Manuel Correia Fernandes, the Kinaxixe Market "represented the Modern Movement synthesis at the time of its construction, and therefore considered the landmark of modern architecture in Angola. It was also the "shout for freedom" that, challenging the colonial regime imposed a new architectural approach. It was demolished in August 2008 with great sorrow of luandenses, who have come to see and feel this “shout for freedom". "


Original by Maria João Teles Grilo

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

Adaption by Ana Tostões e Daniela Arnaut.