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GUC – The Colonial Urbanization Offices: Architectural Culture and Practice

This study aims to inventory, catalog and analyze the work of successive Offices that belonged to the structures of the Ministries of the Colonies and later of the Overseas (henceforth designated overseas ministries) and that were responsible for the architectural and urban initiatives of the central power in the overseas regions during the Estado Novo between 1944 and 1974.

FUNDING: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
YEAR: 2010-2013
COORDINATION: Ana Vaz Milheiro (Principal Investigator)
PARTNERS: ISCTE-IUL,
Instituto da Habitação e da
Reabilitação Urbana (IHRU),
Instituto de Investigação Científica
Tropical,I.P. (IICT) (IICT/MNE)
Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (AHU)

GUC – The Colonial Urbanization Offices: Architectural Culture and Practice [PTDC/AUR-
AQI/104964/2008]

This study aims to inventory, catalog and analyze the work of successive Offices that belonged to the structures of the Ministries of the Colonies and later of the Overseas (henceforth designated overseas ministries) and that were responsible for the architectural and urban initiatives of the central power in the overseas regions during the Estado Novo between 1944 and 1974. The research project is part of a more comprehensive study about the city and architecture produced in the former colonial territories, the aim of which is to further the knowledge of the intellectual and constructed heritage generated by the Portuguese and to make it available to the public at large by means of an on-line consultation system. In the first phase, the main aim is finding a way to make the consultation of these projects accessible and to compile essential information (name of the project architects and engineers, location, date, etc.). In the second phase, the objective will be to locate and describe the current condition of the building constructed in the former colonies that resulted from the work of these project offices; this will provide us with a real and objective panorama of its meaning and importance for the first time.

These project structures go under three names: Colonial Urbanization Office (Gabinete de Urbanização Colonial), Office for the Urbanization of the Overseas (Gabinete de Urbanização do Ultramar), and the Direction of Urbanization and Housing Services (Direcção de Serviços de Urbanização e Habitação) which belonged to the General Direction of Public Works and Communications of the MU. Using factual data (inventorying of the projects and their description, location and buildings constructed), the aim is to understand and describe the project culture of the technicians involved in these offices (architects and engineers with various specialties).

Their technicians made projects for all the Portuguese colonies, namely in Africa, India and Asia. Most of the architectural programs were intended for the construction of public administration buildings, hospitals or schools. There are also examples of sports buildings, religious buildings (exceptional requests) and housing for the families of civil servants. The latter group also includes summer houses and tourist buildings. The projects for the sewerage system and water collection are equally important, with the structuring of public networks for private and collective use (e.g. through public fountains). The existing processes are generally made up of designed and written pieces of architecture, designed and written pieces of engineering (structures and sewerage) and, less often, estimated budgets, or more rarely, data on the development of a specific project (alterations or its non implementation).

The technicians that belonged to the staff of these offices will also be studied. The research aims to compile information about the private estate of these architects and engineers, related to their official functions in order to determine the level of knowledge they had for the places they made projects. A further objective is to record testimonials on video with a view to a “future memory”.

FUNDING: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
YEAR: 2010-2013
COORDINATION: Ana Vaz Milheiro (Principal Investigator)
PARTNERS: ISCTE-IUL,
Instituto da Habitação e da
Reabilitação Urbana (IHRU),
Instituto de Investigação Científica
Tropical,I.P. (IICT) (IICT/MNE)
Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (AHU)
Team
Ana Canas Delgado Martins

RESEARCHER

Cláudia Morgado

Researcher

Eduardo Costa Dias

Researcher

Isabel Boavida

Researcher

João Afonso

Researcher

João Vieira

Researcher

Jorge Figueira

Researcher

José Luís Saldanha

Researcher

Luís Marques

Researcher

Maria Manuela Portugal

Researcher

Paulo Tormenta Pinto

Researcher

Rute Figueiredo

Researcher

Vasco Moreira Rato

Researcher

Catarina Cândido

Researcher

Catarina Serafim

Researcher

Lígia Ferreira

Researcher

Patrícia Cordeiro

Researcher

Tiago Lourenço

Researcher

Consultants
Tiago Lourenço

Manuel Vicente

Simões de Carvalho

Alexandre Alves Costa

Paulo Varela Gomes