Francisco Castro Rodrigues (1920-2015)

DOCOMOMO International wishes to convey the most sincere condolences at the passing of the great architect Francisco Castro Rodrigues, to his family and friends.

Francisco Castro Rodrigues was a Portuguese architect that went to work in Angola in 1953, where he was responsible for transforming Lobito into a modern city, from the urbanism scale to the urban equipment.

DOCOMOMO will remember him with joy and proud.

“Francisco Castro Rodrigues was born in Lisbon on 21th October 1920. Between 1940 and 1941 he attended Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico. In 1942 he went to Escola Superior de Belas Artes, in Lisbon (ESBAL) and graduated in Architecture in 1951. He worked as a designer in the studio of architect Veloso Reis Camelo (1939-1943), participated in the production of the exhibition Portuguese World (1940). He also worked as designer in the studio of the architect Paulo Cunha (1944), collaborated in the project for Luanda Harbor and projects ordered by Direcção Geral de Fomento Colonial. He worked for the Colonial Urbanization Cabinet (1945-1952), along with the architect João Simões (1908-1993). He was arrested on 26th March 1947 due to political reasons and was released on probation on 6th June 1947. While arrested one of his projects was exhibited at the 2nd EGAP. In the studio that he shared with José Huertas Lobo (1914-1987) and João Simões (1908-1993) the group ICAT was created and the Arquitectura magazine was recovered, publishing in 1948 the Athens Charter, translated by him and his wife (Maria de Lourdes). On 28th May 1948, with José Huertas Lobo and João Simões, he presented a thesis at the National Congress of Architects. He left to Lobito on 25th June 1954 to work in the Municipality services (1954-1985). In 1961, being a member of the Angolan-Brazilian Studies Center, he organized an exhibition on Modern Brazilian Architecture and realized a conference at Lobito Commercial Association. During the time he lived in Lobito he was engaged to the city cultural development. In 1975, escaping from UNITA, he returned to Lisbon and in 1976 returned to Lobito and to his job at Municipality services. He returned to Portugal in 1987, living in his family house in Azenhas do Mar, Sintra.
Reference works: GUU Urban Plano for Lobito (1951-1952); Sun House, Lobito (1952-1955), with mosaic work by Manuel Ribeiro de Paiva; Extension of Lobito City Hall (1955); Urban Plan for Vila de Catumbela (1956); Lobito Market (1958-1964); Flamingo Cinema (1963); National High School of Lobito (1966); A Universal Building (1967).”

Jessica Bonito, “Francisco Castro Rodrigues (1920-)”, in Ana Tostoes (ed.), Modern Architecture in Africa: Angola and Mozambique, Lisboa, ICIST, 2014, p. 447.

Published result of the FCT Research Project “EWV_Exchanging worlds visions: modern architecture in Africa ´Lusófona´ (1943-1974) looking through Brazilian experience established since the 1930s” ( Book awarded with the Prize “Prémio de História Calouste Gulbenkian –  História da Presença de Portugal no Mundo” [Prize Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for History – History of the Presence of Portugal in the World].

Photo: Flamingo Cinema, Lobito, Angola. © Ana Magalhães, 2008.