Mecanoo designs the new Macau Central Library in UNESCO World Heritage Site

Mecanoo has been selected to design the new Central Library in Macau, China, as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The project is situated by the Tap Seac square on the site of the former Hotel Estoril, which was the first casino resort in Macau opened in 1962 and has been vacant since the 1990s. Chosen by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government, the project will encourage visitors to uncover and utilize this new public amenity.

Covering a total of 15,000 sqm, it will contain library with children’s, teenagers and general collection, exhibition spaces and multifunctional rooms, café and offices.

The Macau Central Library facade is inspired by the former modernist design of Hotel Estoril by filtering light and creating a controlled indoor climate. A play of light and shadow is projected onto the floor and walls of the library. The continuous L-shape that defines the library volume and its uniform facade helps to redefine the square.

Opening like a book to the main entrance, the building’s envelope is made to act as an extension of the bookshelves from the inside out, from stack to protective shell.  The Central Library aims to lead visitors through a series of interconnected spaces beginning at Tap Seac Square and up to the reading rooms on the top floor.

A soaring atrium opens to the uppermost levels of the building, allowing visitors to orient themselves immediately to the activities within and inspiring them to move upwards through the library.

The building offers unique views out to the mountain and the Tap Seac Square.

The futurist mural designed by the Italian sculptor Oseo Acconci depicting Fortuna, the Roman goddess of chance, is preserved and integrated in the new lobby welcoming the visitors.