A room for 1200 spectatorsLocated in the southwest area of the city of Lobito with its back to the sea and to Rua do Brasil, the Cine-esplanada Flamingo (1963) is located on a plot with a slight slope over the mangroves. It draws a rectangular walled enclosure 95 meters long, 75 meters wide, open to the salt flats where flamingos were found, which gave the cinema its name, and to the southeast quadrant capturing the night breezes, the ensemble consisting of a “room” is oriented. ”Cinema, two bars with a terrace, and garden areas.
Francisco Castro Rodrigues (1920-2015) draws a typology determined by climatic conditions, which is assumed as a shaded structure that stimulates the movements of the air, defining its identity in the confrontation with nature. Inaugurated on October 31, 1963, it was designed for 1200 spectators, the result of an order from the president of Cine-Clube do Lobito, engineer António Vieira da Silva, who joined the distributor Doperfilme to build and manage the cinema. Private initiative project, like most cultural buildings associated with the idea of leisure, without language restrictions imposed by the cultural policy of the Estado Novo, allowing an opening to modernity in the design of the project, and the translation of the will of an open society who wanted to be urgently modern. The program responds to the leisure needs of the colonial society of the 1950s, a functional and typological program that represents the atmosphere of well-being and progress that was felt among the urban bourgeoisie of the Portuguese colonies before the colonial war, combining technical and formal to climatic and geographical conditions in the search for a tropical architecture.
Exploring the new possibilities of concrete, Francisco Castro Rodrigues achieves structural innovation together with the formal freedom that was possible thanks to the project of engineer Fernando Falcão, with whom he usually worked, enriched with the contribution of the specialist in railway structures, engineer Bernardino Machado, who calculated the coverage structure. The roof designed by a 16 m span “V” exposed concrete structure and tensioned by metal cables, together with the huge screen wall, represents the main elements of the building. The entrance, marked by a smaller scale and the “FLAMINGO” sign, is made on the northwest side by means of a slot, according to the central axis of the audience, in the wall that limits the enclosure, and composed of two contrasting walls, which correspond to functionally distinct interior rooms: on the right side a zigzag wall with sharp edges that limits the night bar; on the left side a wavy and continuous wall that houses the terrace bar. The building of the projection booth is designed raised from the ground, connected to the circulation areas by means of ramps, and marked by decorative panels in polychrome marmorite, such as the main facade and the floors, designed by its author who defended the synthesis of the arts and the idea of global work. The Flamingo Cine-esplanade is now abandoned and in disrepair, being used as an informal primary school.