Headquarters of Entreposto Enterprise

Headquarters of Entreposto Enterprise

Maputo [Lourenço Marques], Maputo, Mozambique


The buildings that constitute the headquarters of Entreposto Enterprise in Mozambique (1969-1972), located in the industrial area of Maputo, designed by João José Tinoco (1924-1983), concluded on the first half of the 70s due to the private commission of one of the most powerful business groups active in Mozambique at the time.

Three buildings disposed in a U form gave shape to the compound, while the construction took two different phases: the first building, dated from 1969, settled along an axis perpendicular to Trabalho Avenue, facingit, the warehouse and the block with platform for merchandise load and discharging process, set on the background. In 1972 the main block, housing the headquarters, the administration facilities and offices, was built along the avenue, intentionally branding the firm modern image.

The grand automobile stand, facing the street in a glazed surface, is located in the ground floor. The main building allows access to the warehouse wide platform, located backwards, shaping the last U form line.The main stand, dominates the avenue in all its glazed transparency, spreading itself in a two floor space, flanked by the administrative services facilities on the ground floor and upper floor, in a mezzanine manner. Near the inside front two inner courtyards illuminate the two storey space, stressing the buildings’ transparency. At each end of the stand façade two massive concrete volumes, laying on emptiness, move forward to the outer space, emphasizing the compound brutalist expression.

The extent provided by doubled storey high gives room to an area of contained dimensions giving access to the second stand and to the service counters. The layer of counters communicates to the warehouse ground floor, developed in three floors high and downright to the main building. In the ground floor and supported by a metallic structure a substantial area shows a dens system of shelves accessed to the second floor by a concrete staircase also vertically communicating to the basement. At the warehouse back front is the platform, more solid but formally similar. At the back yard opposite side the offices building holds three floors above the ground, the ground floor and the first floor – communicating directly to the building with the main automobile stand – and the second floor.

The Entreposto Enterprise Headquarters gathers three major programs – warehouse for vehicles and vehicles assistance pieces, stand for automobiles and offices – each one implying distinct requirements of space, security, comfort and accessibility.

Seeking a common formal language, João José Tinoco answers to structural needs of light and ventilation control inherent to the climatic characteristic of Maputo. As a result from the red and vertical brise solei rhythmically disposed along the office building façade, a humanized character tend to confront the opposed tectonic character held at the warehouse.

Not exposed, the warehouse opens slight overtures on the thick brick walls. On the original drawings this module would receive light and air through the coverage, designed in a similar way to the clock factory “Reguladora” (1970). On the inside, the structure gains expression by the use of beams supported upon a brindle made of doubled pillars, creating a space of astonishing impact. The detail concentrated on the staircase drawings report to raw concrete esthetic present on Modern Movement architecture, in harmony to the warehouse arid interior.

Assuming in this work a fearless brutalism João José Tinoco does not neglect on detail, intensely measuring spaces on administration board rooms, revealing an uncommon accuracy on private commissions such as industrial or services architectonical programs private order in Mozambique. The cabinets doors are overstuffed on red leather skin which is also the color and material choose for sofas, chairs and table of the meeting room, along with human profiles on the painting by Malangatana Valente Ngwenya (1936-2011), stressing the room’s axis. This choice follows the logic expressed by the brise solei outer systems on shadowing and water drainage, also red, assuming an unmistakable value of corporate design, therefore passing the identity of this business enterprise, whose color is precisely red. The atmosphere is also defined by dark wood, sober pattern carpet and the drawings of distinct elements such as the AVAC system, signage or storage spaces.

Finally, the headquarters building efficiently responds to the site characteristics. Its scale, along to programmatic diversity and detail level realized in accordance to different spaces and functions, created an edified complex as a reference.

Currently the building retains the spatial organization of the initial project. Some of the areas are abandoned, and several vertical shading devices were removed contributing to its degradation.


Original by Ana Tostões and Francisco Seabra Ferreira.

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

Adaptation by Ana Tostões and Daniela Arnaut.