Amancio Guedes

Amancio d’Alpoim Miranda Guedes, born in Lisbon in 1925, spent most of his youth in Mozambique where his father worked as a doctor. After his studies in South Africa and Lisbon he returned to Mozambique in 1950 to open a practice in Maputo (formerly Lourenço Marques). When Guedes founded his practice there were hardly any qualified architects working in the area. In the course of twenty-five years he built almost 500 buildings, most of which in Mozambique. Moreover, he managed to combine being an active painter and sculptor with his architectural work. His office was in his home and served as a studio, where all manner of activities took place simultaneously.

In the early 1960s Guedes came into contact with the Smithsons through the South African Theo Crosby, editor of Architectural Design. Through the Smithsons Guedes was invited to the Team 10 meeting in Royaumont in 1962. His contribution caused a stir, chiefly on account of the African building practices and the projects that ranged from shacks made from grass and clay to sculptural concrete buildings. Guedes would invariably teach the builders the necessary techniques on the spot and go on to help them with the construction of the buildings himself. In that way he provided people with work, gave them brief, practical training and, moreover, was able to produce the buildings cheaply. After Royaumont, Guedes made regular appearances at Team 10 meetings.

In 1974 Mozambique gained independence and the situation changed drastically. Guedes moved to Johannesburg, where he became dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Witwatersrand. In 1999 he left South Africa and settled in Sintra near Lisbon, where he still lives and works.

See also the website dedicated to Guedes: Amancio Guedes - architect, sculptor, painter
For more information plus an interview see: 'The Wonderful World of Pancho Miranda Guedes'.