Equipment and Infrastructures

Equipment and Infrastructures

Luena [Vila Luso], Moxico, Angola

Equipment and Infrastructures

The city of Luso had notable modern buildings as well as those in the Estado Novo architectural style (such as the Post Office, the Trade Palace and the District Government Headquarters). They were concentrated on Governador Hortêncio de Sousa Street. Housing the Commercial Association from 1952 and on a single floor, the Government Palace was enlarged through a grant from the central government and after the construction of another floor in 1954, incorporated the Town Hall and the lawcourts. According to Fernandes, 2002, p. 22, it is in: “manor house grammar with inspiration from the 17th century [...] with its large hipped roof and eaves, with a central portico and a symmetrical façade”. In front of the building there was (before independence) the Salazar Garden. As with other similar buildings in the country, it was used initially by the colonial government and later became the seat of the Angolan government. The most intense period of construction in Luena took place in the 1950s when the construction of the airport and the post office started. Another building of the time was that of the Luso Hotel (now Hotel Luena) with its modern design by Luís Talequim da Silva and which was recently renovated. The first branch of the Bank of Angola (where the Café Universo was located) was opened; it is now the headquarters of Angola Telecom. The Cine-Theatre Luena began operating in 1956. The new building for the Town Hall was designed by Francisco Castro Rodrigues (not built). There was a relatively constant increase in the number of buildings with the addition of leisure facilities. The Ferrovia Swimming-pool was finally concluded in the 1970s. The Benguela Railway Station was inaugurated by the same decade. This building has an ondulating concrete pergola over the entrance, the belfry tower and the railway platforms in reinforced concrete, in galleries with its ondulating roof supported by mushroom columns on one side and continuous horizontal on pillars on the other. The statue in honour of António José de Almeida was erected in front of the Benguela Railway Station building. The destruction that began with the post-independence war was however devastating and a large number of these structures became basically unrecognizable. Dwellings were less affected and some buildings have recently been preserved, such as the Hospital and the Civil Government building. In the post office building only the telecommunications wing is operational and the industrial school still functions.

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