top of page
Assunção Paixão_edited_edited.jpg

Maria da Assunção

1943, Lisbon (PT)

Maria da Assunção Paixão, Unit 23 primary school Mafalala, Maputo, Mozambique

Maria da Assunção Paixão

b. 1943

Maria Assunção Paixão 27.07.2022_croped.tif





final exam / graduation project

Lagoas Partial Plan, Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique

work in Africa


(after 1970)

* Family lived in Mozambique

practice & partnerships

Gabinete de Urbanização e Habitação da Região de Lourenço Marques-GUHARLM (1970-1975);

after independence was transferred to the new PW Services

other activities



Maria da Assunção Paixão was born in 1943 in Arroios, Lisbon, where her Portuguese father and Mozambican mother were passing through. After her birth, she travelled with her family to Bissau, then to Moçâmedes, and finally to Lourenço Marques. In Mozambique, he studied at Colégio Barroso (5th grade) and Liceu Salazar (6th and 7th grades). In 1961 she moved to the metropolis to study architecture at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts. As was usually the case with female students, she failed her first year in the main subject of the course, taught by Frederico George. She finished the theoretical part of the course (5 years) and began her professional practice in the studio of architect Manuel Pestana.
On his return to Mozambique, and by choice, her career focussed on the Mozambican reeds (caniços), beyond the limits of the infrastructured city. In 1970, she began working with the Gabinete de Urbanização e Habitação da Região de Lourenço Marques-GUHARLM. She worked on two plans: the partial Lagoon Plan (no. 3), which is now Mafalala, namely Units 23 and 24 - neighbourhood schools (1969-1974), and the Lourenço Marques Suburban Area Improvement Plan. Having been summoned to the PIDE shortly before the April revolution for possessing copies of ‘Portugal e o Futuro’ (António de Spínola), a book banned in Mozambique, it was also close to the 25th of April that she completed her degree in architecture (1973), presenting a study of the aforementioned Mafalala Units as her final thesis.
With Mozambique's independence, Maria da Assunção was put in charge of GUHARLM, which remained in the hands of Roxo Leão and finally José Forjaz (1976). Following her departure, she went on to work as head of the new DGH (Directorate General of Housing) and was responsible for several of the communal villages that were implemented across the country at the end of the decade.
Assunção Paixão currently lives in Maputo, although she often travels to Lisbon.

(Ana Vaz Milheiro, Filipa Fiuza e Leonor Matos Silva, 2023)

bottom of page