Pancho Guedes (1925-2015)
Pancho Guedes passed away on 7th November 2015
DATE: 7/11/2015
docomomo International wishes to convey the most sincere condolences at the passing of the great architect, artist, architectural theorist and teacher Pancho Guedes, to his family and friends. docomomo will remember him with joy and proud.

There will be a tribute honoring Pancho Guedes on the 14 November 2015, 2 pm, at Wits Art Museum (WAM), Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Location: Corner of Bertha and Jorissen Streets
Co-ordinates: -26.192951, 28.033151

Programme:
Hannah le Roux, School of Architecture, Wits University
Herbert Prins/Myra Kamstra, Architect
Peter Rich, Architect
Jo Noero, Architect
Lewis Levin, Architect
Henning Rasmuss, Architect
Georgina Guedes/Gabriel, family

After the ceremony there will be a visual presentation by Lewis Levin.

“Fantasy must be brought back into architecture
Pancho Guedes[1] (1925), the luso-african architect (Witwatersrand University, 1953) active in Mozambique, the former Portuguese colony till the independence in 1975, made in his writings and architectural production a major contribution to the reassessment of architectural modernity, connecting different disciplines and cultures and carrying out affinities with various creators namely with the painter Malangatana Ngwenya (1936-2009). His fantastic and magic architecture comes from the stimulus of a large worldwide network of artists and thinkers that he himself put up from different sources such as: the Modern Movement architects, namely the South African contributors as Martiessen or the Brazilian inspiring influence referred to Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer; Frank Lloyd Wright spatial researches or the CIAM’s critic contestation movement under the scope of Team 10 which he joined at CIAM’s Royaumont meeting together with the Smithson´s, Aldo Van Eyck, Candilis and Giancarlo di Carlo; or finally the new African artists which he promoted.
Besides being one of Mozambique’s major architects, Pancho had the sagacity to detect talent, to promote creativity, having the ability to establish a network of creative[2], functioning himself as a sort of mediator between art and architecture[3].
In Lourenço Marques (currently Maputo) Pancho created a profound complicity with Malangatana, the surrealist painter, whom inventive spirit allowed no limits.[4] Malangatana stimulated Pancho in his will to “ear the voices speaking from the other side of dream.”[5] In The 50s, in an Africa of Apartheid between Mozambique, Rhodesia and South Africa, Pancho knew that there was the need to found an authentic and raw art, the art for authentic artists.”[6] Therefore he sought for an Architecture full of significance, carrying a personal dimension based on a research focused on all formal dimensions and on the possibility for architectonical elements to contain and express emotion: “I claim for architects to have the same rights and freedom painters and poets have for so long.”[7] Pancho wanted to appropriate the primitive’s universal motifs, mixing them with his own sophisticated architectonical culture, in order to achieve in his buildings the ambience of Chirico’s painting. Pancho knew that Architecture is not perceived as an intellectual experience but as a sensation, an emotion[8]. Therefore he was interested in the quest for such quality “long ago lost among architects but able to reach a spontaneous architecture capable of magic intensity.”[9]
In the 50s, this search resulted from the desire to create an alternative modernity, different from the mechanical international style growing also in Africa.[10] Unlike the majority of architects working in Africa forced to draw in dialogue to climate constrains, Pancho assumes also the creator’s right to innocence stimulated by the sensuality and drama of the surrounding African culture. The creation and growth of Dori[11] and Pancho African art collection, which has been recently exhibited in Lisbon, bears witness to his constant interest in the dialogue with other forms of expression[12]. The objects he collected, as he himself has stated, helped him free himself “from the dominant Eurocentric point of view of the white man who lives in the land of others.”[13] The will to discover an alternative modernity was the answer to an inner appeal, but also to an Africa dawning to contemporaneity, to a new world which was in a state of ferment[14]. Pancho witness and acts in a time when Architecture is open to popular culture, when architecture without architects and architecture of fantasy are accepted.[15] But it is also the time for complexity and multiple solutions opened to the Modern Movement continuity or crises[16], the ones Giedion identified as a result from reason and emotion related equation[17].”

In Ana Tostões, “Correspondences by Pancho Guedes”, EAHN Conference, Architectural Elective Affinities. Correspondences, Transfers, Inter/Multidisciplinarity, Faculdade de Arquitectura e Urbanismo da Universidade de São Paulo, Março de 2013. Read the full text in the PDF below.



[1] Pancho Guedes full name:  Amâncio d´Alpoim Miranda Guedes; the various guises of his name: Amâncio Guedes or Pancho Guedes: A. Miranda Guedes, A. de Alpoim Guedes, Amâncio D´Alpoim Guedes, Amâncio de Miranda Guedes.
[2] Malangatana Ngwenya, “Pancho Guedes visto por Malangatana”, Savana, 5 de Março de 2010. Alexandre Pomar (ed.), the africas of pancho guedes, the dori and amâncio guedes collection, (Lisboa:CML-Sextante, 2010), 56.
[3] Ana Tostoes (ed.), Modern Architecture in Africa: Angola and Mozambique, Lisboa, Caleidoscópio, 2014.
[4] Dorothy Guedes, “Vinte e Quatro Poemas de Malangatana”, in Malangatana Ngwenya, Vinte e Quatro Poemas, (Lisbon: ISPA, 1996), 7.
[5] Pancho Guedes, Manifestos, Papers, Lectures, Publications, (Lisbon: OA, 2007), 55.
[6] Amâncio Guedes, “Mr. Tito Zungu. Master of the Decorated Envelope”, in Pancho Guedes, Manifestos, Papers, Lectures, Publications, op.cit., p.111.
[7] Amâncio Guedes, “A Wrightian Thesis from the Early Fifties”,in Pancho Guedes, Manifestos, Papers, Lectures, Publications, op.cit.,12.
[8] Bernard Huet, introduction to: Amâncio Guedes, “Y aura-t-il une architecture?”, l’Architecture d´Aujourd´hui 102 (1962), 42.
[9] Amâncio Guedes, “A Wrightian Thesis from the Early Fifties”, op.cit.
[10] As Pancho states: “For some, the modern movement hás accomplished its program and architecture hás entered the time of refinement and classicism. Indeed, the câncer of styles is again upon us-more mortal and terrifying than ever before. For others-we, who from day to day stare loneliness in the face-we know we will remain outlaws for the resto f our lives or else turn traitors to ourselves.” Amâncio Guedes, “Y aura-t-il une architecture?”, l’Architecture d´Aujourd´hui 102 (1962), 42-48.
[11] Pancho married Dorothy Ann Philips [Dori] in 1947.
[12] Alexandre Pomar (ed.), the africas of pancho guedes, the dori and amâncio guedes collection, (Lisboa:CML-Sextante, 2010), 8.
[13] Pancho Guedes, Vitruvius Mozambicanus, (Lisbon: Berardo Collection Museum, 2009), 165.
[14] Tristan Tzara, “introduction to Guedes’ lecture”,A. D’Alpoim Guedes, “things are not what they seemed to be”, Proceedings of the First International Congresso n African Culture Held at the National gallery, salisbury, Rhodesia, 1-11 August (1962).
[15] MoMA exhibition in 1960 “Arquitectura Visionária”, Bernard Rudofsky (1905 - 1988) "Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture" (1964), "Architectural History , as written and taught in the Western World , has never been concerned with more than a few select cultures. "
[16] Ernesto Nathan Rogers, “Continuità o Crisi”, Casabella-Continuità 215 (1957).
[17] Sigfried Giedion, Space Time and Architecture. The Growth of  a new Tradition, (Massachusetts: Harvard, 1941).


Pancho Guedes website (English website)
Ordem dos Arquitectos (Portuguese website)
Architect Africa Online (English website)
Jornal Público (Portuguese Journal)
Jornal Público (Portuguese Journal)
ESAD Matosinhos, Book and Exhibition Pancho Guedes Nunca Foi ao Japão, Pancho Guedes Viagens Project (Portuguese website)