Carlos Marreiros firm wins design bid for Central Library

A rendering of the design proposal for the New Macau Central Library

The architecture firm of local artist and architect Carlos Marreiros has been selected to design and plan the construction of the New Macau Central Library, and is expected to submit its final blueprint by 2020, according to the government.

MAA Marreiros Architectural Atelier Limited’s winning bid was announced at a press conference held by the government on Saturday, at a tender price of MOP18.68 million and for a design period of 268 days.

During the press conference, the vice president of the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC), Leong Wai Man, said that the government intends for the Central Library to become a cultural landmark in the city. Leong said that it would serve as a cultural exchange center that strengthens community bonds and cultivates a local reading culture, as well as a hub for promoting the development of a smart city.

According to the preliminary proposal, the Central Library will consist of the current Old Court Building and former headquarters of the Judiciary Police, together with a separate construction to be built atop. The 11-storey project is expected to reach a maximum altitude of 53 meters above sea level.

A rendering of the design proposal showcased at the government press conference suggests that the building may be divided into as many as three distinct sections. The uppermost part of the building, which will be newly constructed according to the plan, will sit atop the Old Court Building and be further divided into three areas; a section for library collection, a public section and a technical support section.

The uppermost addition features a distinct, modern architectural style inspired by a “card catalogue cabinet” that might be found in an antiquated library. A representative of MAA Marreiros Architectural Atelier Ltd. said that the purpose of a card catalogue cabinet mirrors the library itself in that both allow for the accumulation, organization and extraction of knowledge.

“With this concept, we want to develop the Central Library into a card catalogue cabinet of knowledge, which welcomes all residents to come over and discover,” said architect Long Fat Chi, as cited by public broadcaster TDM.

The Central Library will have 1,120 seats in the main reading areas and as many as 800 more in auxiliary spaces, such as meeting and exhibition rooms and theaters. It will also include a rooftop garden and solar panels as part of the company’s push for sustainable and environmentally friendly features.

The government also reiterated that, given the Old Court Building is classified as a building of architectural interest, the Cultural Affairs Bureau will protect it in strict accordance with the provisions of the Cultural Heritage Protection Law. Specifically, the building will retain the current architectural elements and features of its façade, rooftop, structure, floor slabs and distinctive internal spaces, among other features.

The tender notice for the design and planning project of the Central Library was published at the start of March and the tender opened on July 10, 2018. The tender committee accepted a total of nine bids, with the tender price ranging from MOP9.8 million to MOP43 million and the service period from 210 days to 320 days.

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