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Maputo Land Rover

submitted by

Kees Kaan



Between 1998 and 2005, we engaged in the design and construction of the Dutch Embassy in Mozambique. Offering an opportunity to tap into local tacit knowledge, this project revealed the importance of culturally specific knowledge and skills in design and building projects.

During one of our visits, we chanced upon a craftsman renowned for his meticulous models of Land Rover cars made entirely out of Coca Cola tins and foam, without glue or other adhesives. Impressed by his skills, we commissioned him to build a model of our embassy. When the model arrived in Rotterdam, we were surprised. The building proportions were off, and a large palm tree stood in the embassy’s gardens, which to our minds made the model rather tacky and horrendous. The craftsman’s skills, it seemed, only extended to Land Rover models, and his expectation and appreciation of what constituted a good architectural scale model differed from ours.

Submitted by
Kees Kaan is an award-winning Dutch architect, professor, and chairman at TU Delft. He is a co-founder of KAAN Architecten, known for projects such as the new Amsterdam Courthouse and the new Schiphol Airport terminal. Kaan is an international lecturer and jury member, actively engaged in policy-making for the urban environment in the Netherlands and abroad.


This object is part of the TACK Exhibition “Unausgesprochenes Wissen / Unspoken Knowledge / Le (savoir) non-dit”, in the section “Codes and Communities”.