Industrial and Commercial Institute of Nampula (former Nampula Technical School)

Industrial and Commercial Institute of Nampula (former Nampula Technical School)

Nampula, Nampula, Mozambique

Equipment and Infrastructures

To better understand the project of Nampula Technical School, designed in 1959, by Fernando Mesquita, read "Technical School” in. The projects are almost identical, from functional matters, to constructive characteristics, and dimensional and formal principles. The exception is in the implementation: keeping the North-south orientation accuracy in the main gallery, they are 180º inverted.

To understand this issue, we should remember that in the case of the Mozambican climate, the two main conditions that the architecture has to work with are the sun and the wind. "In a figurative sense could be presented as an archetype of housing of hot and humid climates the tree's leafy canopy: it gives shade, allows ample ventilation; absorbs, but eliminate, solar radiation" (Ruy Gomes - O Problema do Conforto Térmico em Climas Tropicais e Subtropicais. Lisboa: LNEC, 1967, p. 44). However, not always these two vital elements can be associated to define a perfect orientation.

The compromise situation between sunlight and air circulating rises to two distinct approaches in Fernando Mesquita implementation of schools.  Nampula and Quelimane schools represent the paradigm of two situations: while in Quelimane schools (where the prevailing winds come from the South) air circulation and sun protection are perfectly articulated factors, in Nampula schools (where the prevailing winds come from the North) only air circulation (and the protection of rain) performs its function accurately. Analyzing the entire school program built by Fernando Mesquita, is possible to identify that, in all cases where a deployment commitment was necessary, privilege was given to wind direction and instead of sun protection.

The shaky situation in terms of sun protection in Nampula schools leads us to consider that the concept of Fernando Mesquita has been developed for situations where the wind came from South, and otherwise, the taken option has been to reverse the model 180º, without any adjustments in terms of solar protection, since the horizontal shading devices fail to serve its function in South facades and vertical on the North facades.

There are many studies that say that, in a doubt situation, in hot and humid climates, ventilation should always be the main principle, rather than ideal sunlight. Given that is the only way to diminish the discomfort caused by excessive moisture, increased considerably by the high occupancy rate of classrooms there is no question the major importance given to this factor.Added to this phenomenon, it is easily understood that air movement is a determining process in insect bite prevention for diseases such as malaria. What is, however, unsolved it is the lack of explanation for that, having been given primacy to one factor - the winds - it has been neglected the other - sunscreen. Without doubts about the privilege that Fernando Mesquita recognized to air flow on classrooms comfort conditions, open questions remain about the reasons that generate Fernando Mesquita conception program in cities where the winds blow from North in the warm season.

Zara Ferreira

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