Fry and Drew: Conference

‘The Influence of Fry and Drew’ Conference, Abstract 2

Ana Tostões and Zara Ferreira, ‘How to be Modern and Design with Climate: Fry and Drew’s Legacy and the School Programme in Mozambique (1955-1975)’.

Maxwell Fry (1899-1987) and Jane Drew (1911-1996) headed an essential role on the design with climate issue. They contributed to reveal the possibility of a Modern Movement architecture applied to the tropics showing what was beyond the Brazilian Modern and its formal answer. An efficient and technical approach was achieved connecting design tools with sanitarian requirements, establishing a methodological and pedagogical brand disclosed by their research, lessons, publications (Fry; Drew, 1964) and buildings (Kultermann, 2000, 54).

Their action was reflected on the development of the Modern Movement architecture in the former African Portuguese colonies, throughout the ’50s and ’60s, namely in Mozambique: in the scope of the African investment overseas conducted by the “Estado Novo” dictatorship (1926-1974) the educational programme was the main focus following other African countries strategies, according to updated UNESCO policies.

Though, in the beginning the high schools buildings were designed in the metropolis, Lisbon, through the Colonial Urbanization Office (GUC), soon the role would be taken by the local offices receiving influences from the Tropical Architecture in Dry and Humid Zones at the Architectural Association course, in London, sponsored by GUC to their employees. At the same time, two facts come together: the wave of Portuguese architects’ emigration to African colonies and the increasing autonomy of these territories (Tostões; Oliveira, 2010). So, one may say that Fry and Drew prepared a whole generation of Portuguese architects skilled on tropical climates design methods.

In Mozambique, it gave rise to the development of the Public Works Department, where a school trail-blazer concept was developed by Mesquita (1919-?). Widely developed between 1955 and 1975 (the year of the colonies independence), seeking for an efficient energetic performance and comfort in a tropical climate, a modus operandi has been conceived and applied (Ferreira, 2012).

The paper aims to demonstrate how the Modern Movement ideology has been locally interpreted, following Fry and Drew knowledge and pedagogy. Their influence will be analyzed in order to enlighten the school building culture using some case studies.


FERREIRA, Zara, O Moderno e o Clima na África Lusófona. Arquitectura escolar em Moçambique: o programa de Fernando Mesquita (1955-1975). Dissertation to obtain the degree of Master in Architecture. Lisbon: IST-UTL, 2012.

FRY, Maxwell, DREW, Jane, Tropical Architecture in the Dry and Humid Zones. London: BT Batsford, 1964.

KULTERMANN, Udo; FRAMPTON, Kenneth, World Architecture 1900-2000: A Critical Mosaic. Central and Southern Africa, Vol. 6, China Architecture & Building Press, Springer-Verlag Wien New York, 2000

TOSTÕES, Ana; OLIVEIRA, Maria Manuel, “Transcontinental Modernism. M&G as an Unité d’habitation and a factory complex in Mozambique”, DOCOMOMO International Journal 43 – 2010/2 Brasilia 1960-2010, Winter 2010, pp. 70-73.


Ana Tostões is an architect, architectural historian and chair of Docomomo International ( She is Associate Professor with Habilitation at IST-UTL, Lisbon, where she is in charge of the architectural PhD programme. Her research field is the history of architecture and the city of the twentieth century, in which she develops an operative view, oriented towards the conservation of modern architecture, focusing especially on post-war architectural culture and on the relations between European, African and American production. On these topics she has published books and scientific articles and curated exhibitions. She’s actually coordinating the research project (PTDC/AUR-AQI/103229/2008) EWV: Exchanging World Visions. The project aims to study Sub-Sahara African architecture and planning mostly built in Angola and Mozambique during the modern movement period.


Zara Ferreira is an Intern Architect and Research Fellow at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UTL), Master in Architecture at IST-UTL with a dissertation entitled The Modern and the Climate in the Lusophone Africa. School buildings in Mozambique: the Fernando Mesquita concept (1955-1975). Based on the systematic analysis of case studies, on which she carries out the analysis and the interpretation of the systems and technologies designed to respond to specific levels of comfort for the tropical climate, along with the analysis of the organization of the built environment and the functional typology, the essay aims to contribute for the characterization of the school’s architectural program (developed under the scope of the research project EWV: Exchanging World Visions).



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