“In my work, the main thing is people. Whatever I design, it should be completely satisfying to society,” – Morjadino Da Fonseca Vera Kruz, PhD student at the Academy of Engineering from Sao Tome and Principe


Morjadino flew from warm Sao Tome to Moscow to receive the profession of an architect of buildings and structures. He loves Khrushchev apartment buildings (5-storey buildings of the 60’s), lives according to the laws of Vitruvius and wants to create something useful for society. We asked Morjadino what motivated him to move to Russia, why he chose Architecture and what project he presented at the Golden Section festival.

What motivated you to come to study in Russia?

At school I was very fond of geography and history. In history lessons, the teacher constantly talked about the exploits of the Red Army and the role of the Soviet Union in the independence movement for African countries. And in geography classes they didn’t talk much about the largest country in the world, so gradually I started wondering why they write and say that, why it’s so cold, what kind of church is on Red Square, why was it painted in bright colors. When I found out that I could come here to study, I immediately rushed after my dream.

What emotions did you experience when you arrived in Moscow?

For 18 years I had lived in a country where the total area is half that of Moscow. A different reality — a variety of transport, people who speak a different language — caused different feelings, mostly positive.

Why did you choose “Architecture”?


Freedom of creativity and self-expression. An architect can bring to life the most cherished dreams and fantasies, creating real works of art.

How do architects come up with their designs?

As the chief architect of Moscow Sergey Kuznetsov said: “Each architect has his or her own way of working”. Any architectural project begins with an idea and a sketch of the external look, image, composition of the future building. A sketch is a satellite, a kind of beacon that provides guidance in architectural work. Lucius Annaeus Seneca stated: “For a man who does not know to which harbor he is heading, not a single wind will be fair”. If a person does not have a specific goal (sketch), he can develop his ideas in various styles and techniques, even use modern computer technology. But in none of them he will reach the end and will not succeed.

What is an ideal architect like?


Architects should perceive architecture not only as a job, but as a way of life. In every little thing we should see the architectural beginning, peer into the forms, lines and sizes. We need to think and experiment every day in order to improve the life of all life on earth.

What do you like about the architecture of Moscow?

The capital of Russia is the best metropolis in the world in terms of infrastructure development and quality of life. I admire a series of 5-storey panel buildings of the first stage of industrial housing construction, which went down in history as “Khrushchevka”. Undoubtedly, Moscow is the city of the future, but its history is worth preserving, for this you need to find a balance.

In the “Khrushchevka” there is a triad of Vitruvius (three laws of the Roman architect: strength, usefulness, beauty). These buildings hold the memories of many Russians and can be easily integrated into a sustainable social environment. A major overhaul would help these houses become a great choice in today’s real estate market, as well as avoid demolition.

How are things going with architecture at home?

Sao Tome and Principe is a small island nation located in Africa. Its area is only 1,001 km2. Problems with urbanization appeared due to the increase in the population and people from the countryside who moved to the city after independence from Portugal in 1975. Portuguese colonial architecture, which used to occupy 70% of the island, is disappearing over time. Now it is 40%, and more than half of the buildings are in disrepair.

More than 200,000 inhabitants live on the islands, 80% of them live in individual houses built without infrastructure and urban integration. I intend to invite the people of the country to move from individual houses to collective ones, to adapt life in mid-rise residential development in order to reduce the area of used land and preserve the fauna and flora, for the sake of the future of Sao Tome and Principe.

What architectural project do you dream of realizing?

My dream is to design social housing that is integrated into sustainable development around the world.

Social architecture is focused on the planning and construction of housing for low-income segments of the population. Its tasks are to interact between life and form, to encourage “healthy relationships” between people and cities.

Tell us about your participation in the Golden Section festival. What project did you envision?

In Architectural Shaping of a Mid-rise Dwelling that Integrates into a Sustainable Social Environment (Case Study of Sao Tome and Principe), I designed mid-rise dwellings.

I took into account the principles of planning schemes of residential buildings for various social groups of the population of my homeland, developed an algorithm for selecting and arranging the facades of low-rise residential buildings, taking into account ethnicity. I also gave advice on design and territorial placement of low-rise buildings based on a set of specific characteristics of the landscape and location conditions:

  • relief features: on the plains and slopes;
  • town-planning situation: in the city, suburbs and inter-settlement territory.

What makes you stand out from other architects?


I think and work according to the Vitruvian triad, but to the formula “benefit, strength, beauty” I add “sustainability”.


The main thing in my work is people. Whatever I design, it must fully satisfy society. The state of health of a person is influenced by lifestyle and the environment, so how and where he lives is so important. Architecture plays a special role in human life. The combinations of lines, angles and colors of a building influence a person’s mentality, which shapes his social behavior.


I encourage architects to strive to minimize the negative impact on the environment through the efficient and thoughtful use of materials, energy, space and the ecosystem as a whole.


Author of the photo: Union of Moscow Architects.


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