Mecanoo chosen to design Macau Central Library

11 March 2021
  • Mecanoo
  • Mecanoo
  • Mecanoo



New building planned for UNESCO World Heritage site

Mecanoo has been selected by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government to design the new Central Library in the historic centre of Macau, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 15,000 sqm building is located on a plot that was the site of the former Hotel Estoril, which opened in 1962 as Macau’s first casino resort. 

Mecanoo took several design cues from the previous structure, while reflecting the new building’s function as a library and creating connections to the adjacent Tap Seac square. The facade takes inspiration from the former modernist design of Hotel Estoril by filtering the light and creating a controlled indoor climate. A play of light and shadow is projected onto the floor and walls of the library, while the structure’s continuous ‘L’ shape seeks to redefine the square. The façade pattern acts as an extension of the bookshelves, with a uniform skin that opens up like a book to the main entrance.

The design proposal is built around the idea of a journey that begins at city level via the square, and continues through a series of interconnected spaces all the way up to the large reading rooms situated at the top of the building. The futurist mural designed by the Italian sculptor Oseo Acconci depicting Fortuna, the Roman goddess of chance, is preserved and integrated into the new lobby. Within the library space, a soaring atrium opens to the uppermost levels, which offer visitors views over to the square and the mountains beyond. 

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

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