The Grande Hotel Beira was once a luxurious hotel in Beira, Mozambique. It was open from 1954 until 1963 and was had the nickname of the ‘Pride of Africa’. Actually it was a ‘white elephant’; it was too big, too expensive, too ambitious hotel on the wrong place and at the wrong moment. During the Mozambican Civil War became the Grande Hotel a military base, later on it transformed into a refugee camp. Today it is a vertical slum that is squatting by approximately 1,000 inhabitants. They live in poverty and bad hygienic conditions. Most of the interior and additive construction materials have been stripped-off and sold to generate income for primary survival. Most of the Grande Hotel inhabitants are only capable of earning an essential living in the informal economic sector. They are, as their nickname ‘whato muno’ (not from here) indicates, excluded from the urban society as well as from participation in the informal sector of Beira. The growing formal economy in the city also put pressure on the informal economy. It became even harder for the Grande Hotel inhabitants to make a living thus makes it even impossible to get released from the poor living conditions. This website consist the final outcome of the graduation project by Robert R. Cruiming for the Masters of Science in the field of Architecture at the Technical University Delft, The Netherlands. The project consists roughly in two parts; a research into the current situation and an architectural intervention design. The final mark of the graduation is an 8,5. According Dutch grading system is this good to very good.


The research is a scientific exploration of the underlying formation of the current situation of the Grande Hotel and how the inhabitants deal in the striking living environment. The research consists of an ethnographic research of the daily use of ten different inhabitants and a theoretical reflection to literature sources in the scope of public health social, socioeconomic, political, architectural conditions.


The intervention of the ‘Reciclagem do Grande Hotel’’ is designed to disrupt the striking living conditions by providing spatial interventions which lead to new socioeconomic development opportunities for the current inhabitants. The concept consists of the establishment of an informal market in the existing garden of the Grande Hotel. The market is based on the recycling and repairing of existing materials by individually owned workshops. The design of the workshops is based-on a semi-temporary construction module. It is a low-tech and low-cost construction system that will be constructional manageable for the current inhabitants of the Grande Hotel. Besides the socioeconomic development opportunities, the plan consists also of interventions that will improve the hygienic and social conditions of the Grande Hotel thus turning it into a more permanent living environment.


It matters to me to share the outcome of the extensive research to the problems and possible solutions of the Grande Hotel to others. The Grande Hotel is in such a way unique, but there do exist equivalent cases of vertical slums in Southern Africa and other countries that experience a growing inequality between poor and rich by a growing neoliberal economy. Previous cases where: the Ponte City tower in Hillbrow, Johannesburg and Schubart Park in Pretoria. In Venezuela is Torre David, a 45-story skyscraper in the financial centre of the capital of Caracas which habitats proximally 2,500 people.