Grand Masters


10-12 December 2003 - Wits University

On the 10th of December 2003, Prof. Pancho Guedes will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the University of the Witwatersrand. Since his retirement in Portugal, it is the second such honour to be bestowed upon him, the previous occasion being at the University of Pretoria in 1998. 

An exhibition showing samples of his vast oeuvre of work, in the Foyer of the John Moffat building, will accompany the ceremony. 

A two-day symposium is scheduled to celebrate this memorable event, featuring honoured guests, speakers and previous students. They will pay homage to Prof. Guedes on the first day, and present their own work the day after. 

A proposed publication featuring the key presentations will be available at the event. This will include texts by Pancho, as well as a previously unpublished artwork produced specifically for this publication, which could make it a highly collectable item. 

SPEAKERS: Ian Bader, Julian Beinhart, Michael Benedikt, Lindsay Bremner, Revel Fox, Wilhelm Hahn, Alfred Jacoby, Lars Larup, Jo Noero, Marylin Martin, Herbert Prins, Stanley Saitowitz, Tony Santos, Luis Honwana and Malangatana.

Visit the Pancho Guedes Website

To Register Contact:

Lesley Stephenson
Tel +27 (0)11 717 7031 or 339 7835


Thursday, 11 December 2003
Friday, 12 December 2003

R600 for 2 days or R350 for one day. Students R100
View latest details on Wits Website.

Pancho 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.

Karen Eicker   

Visit the Pancho Guedes Website compiled by Cedric Green

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