Guedes - Biography
Born in Lisbon in 1925, the inimitable Pancho Guedes has created, taught and inspired with unsurpassed passion and exuberance for over fifty years.
Pancho is an architect, painter, sculptor, philosopher and writer. He treats his buildings as living entities, and they are often described as possessing human qualities – "good-natured", "lovingly" and "agitated". His influences are, amongst others, dadaism, surrealism, art nouveau, children's paintings, Mozambican vernacular architecture, African arts and crafts, Portuguese culture, and humanity and nature in all their forms.
Trained at the University of the Witwatersrand, Pancho worked from his studio in Maputo (then Lourenco Marques) until 1975, creating and designing buildings in Mozambique, South Africa, Angola and Portugal. After the Mozambican revolution he lived in exile in Johannesburg where he was professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at Wits. Nowadays Pancho lives, paints, sculpts, writes and practices architecture at his home near Sintra in Portugal.
His work over the last half century has consistently expressed his love of life and thoughtfulness in creating spaces and structures that inspire, reflect, affect and comfort their inhabitants. A passage from his manifesto entitled "Architects as Magicians, Conjurers, Dealers in Magic Goods, Promises, Potions, Spells. Myself as Witch Doctor." still expresses this quality and originality:
"The mechanical and abstract rigours of our various systems and styles appear to be concerned with taking away, disguising, obliterating the evidence of our whole selves. These self imposed systems do not deal with people and life, they asphyxiate by growing inwardly into themselves.
We must become technicians of the emotions, makers of smiles, tear jerkers, exaggerators, spokesmen of dreams, performers of miracles, messengers; and invent raw, bold, vigourous and intense buildings without taste, absurd and chaotic, to invent an architecture the size of life. Buildings shall yet belong to the people, architecture shall yet become real and alive, and beauty shall yet be warm and convulsive."
On 10 December 2003 Pancho will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the University of the Witwatersrand. Luminaries of the local and international art and architecture communities will speak at a two day symposium and exhibition, paying tribute to this intriguing man whose work continues to inspire respect and fascination.
the Pancho Guedes Website compiled by Cedric