Description of the idea for the architecture of Villa Moringa in Lumbo

We are accustomed to thinking of a border as a phenomenon that separates two distinct situations: Past and future, two sovereign nations, life and death, land and ocean… Interestingly the border also unifies these differences as it touches on both and thereby connects them. The concept for Villa Moringa relates to the second understanding of this idea.

The site for Villa Moringa is located by the sea in Lumbo looking out over the bay of Mossuril with it’s Mangrove system toward the west and north and toward Ilha de Mocambique toward the east. Lumbo historically was the interface between the continent of Africa and the world that used Ilha as a trading hub. This situation was used as the basis for the choice of constructive systems of the project. The architecture of the continent was to be represented by the clay used to plaster walls under a palm leaf roof that extends over the wall to create a covered outside area. The architecture of Ilha de Mocambique by its solid masonry walls finished in lime plaster with flat roofs that collect rain water in a cistern and the presence of a courtyard in its center. The secondary structures for the office of Mosagry and the guesthouse were to be built using the traditional architecture of the continent whilst the main building is articulated as a fusion between the two constructive systems where the common areas are built using the continents architecture whilst the private spaces are articulated by the architecture of Ilha de Mozambique. A wide, covered veranda connects the enclosed spaces of the main house to the surrounding nature with its extraordinary views capturing both the sun set and sun rise.

Upon entering the property through a wooden gate close to a massive Baobab tree surrounded by hedges running along the perimeter of the property, one passes by the water tower and its well. The two secondary buildings are aligned in such a way that they enter into a dialogue with the cemetery wall to create an emphasized perspective where the focal point is the main façade of the main building. The position of this large volume is chosen in such a way that it partially hides itself behind the cemetery wall to decrease its presence viewed upon arrival and thereby integrates the volume in scale by relating to existing structures bordering the property in a humble way.

By using this strategy it was an objective to integrate the new buildings on the property to provoke the experience that this Villa could have been built in historical times bridging the divide between the past and the present, the continent and Ilha de Mocambique by expressing the unifying character of the idea of a border.

Written by Marcus Antman, architect.